I stared at myself in the mirror.
"I'm beautiful." I said, testing it. I immediately made a face. It just didn't sound right rolling off my tongue.
"There you go," N said cheerfully from where he was laying on my bed.
"But it doesn't sound right," I complained.
"Keep saying it until it does." He suggested.
"I don't think it ever will," I sighed. "Besides, it makes me look like an idiot."
His eyes narrowed. "Being confident with yourself makes you look like an idiot?" He said with annoyance.
I shook my head. "N, you really don't know girls at all." I declared. I pulled my hair into a ponytail and just gave up.
N was completely horrified when he realized the extent of my self-loathing. The next morning, he had made sure to say, "Hey Touko, you look pretty today."
Even though my heart fluttered at his words, I tried not to think too much of them. He was saying them just to make me feel better. Yet, something inside of me felt like he meant it.
Neither of us talked about the kiss. Or rather, the two kisses. I had woken up that morning with the assumption that things would be awkward between us, but N proved me wrong. He acted completely normal. In fact, he acted extremely cheerful.
There were quite a few instances throughout these couple of days where I'd be doing something, only to turn around and notice that he was watching me. I tried my best to ignore it, but it made me uncomfortable. I was the one who was supposed to be watching him. It wasn't his job to watch me.
I sat down on the bed by his feet. He pulled his legs closer to him and sat up, clutching my pillow to his chest. He had his finger to his lips as he stared down at the bed spread.
"What are you thinking about?" I asked. In an attempt to seem nonchalant, I looked down at my fingernails.
nothing, really." He said slowly. "I was just thinking about how tonight will be the first time we've gone out since I got here."
I wasn't expecting that. "Oh," I murmured. "You're right." I felt guilty keeping him in the house all this time. It's a wonder he hasn't gone crazy yet.
"It's no big deal or anything," he carried on quickly. "I don't mind staying in the house."
"I am sorry about that." I explained, feeling ashamed. "It's just that I'm so used to being inside all the time."
He shook his head, waving his hand. "It's okay!"
N was always so willing to forgive anyone, and it kind of irritated me. He had every reason to be upset, but here he was, trying to make me feel better about myself. It's a pattern that I've noticed for a while now. I hoped to break it, but N was so damn stubborn.
When I was telling N about Touya inviting us over yesterday, he immediately jumped at the chance. At the time, I didn't think about how much staying cooped up in the house had affected him. I was now, and it was making me feel extremely ashamed of myself. I was no better than Ghetsis, keeping him locked in like this.
The unmistakable sound of a stomach growling interrupted my guilt session. I looked up to see N was a big smile on his face.
"I'll make breakfast!" He exclaimed, tilting his head to the side.
I continued to stare at him. Anyone who didn't know N like I did would find this behavior cute. It wasn't cute, not at all. His sudden change in demeanor from two days ago was scary, and to me, it indicated that something was wrong. He was usually awkward and hesitant, but now, he was chipper and spontaneous. A few days ago, he would not have laid on my bed in such a comfortable manner. When I got out of the shower this morning, I had to push him out of my room. It was like he didn't see anything wrong with me changing in front of him.
It was like that night flipped a switch. From a man who at least knew some boundaries, to a child who has never learned any.
It wasn't normal, and it worried me.
"Are you ready to go?" I called, grabbing my house keys.
"In a minute!" I heard him gasp. "Just let me finish the side of the couch!"
"Okay," I muttered.
N was lint rolling the couch again. I tried to tell him that he didn't need to; he already cleaned it twice before. But of course, he insisted on making it spotless and ignored me completely. I tried not to let his OCD on such things bother me so much. If it made him feel better, then he was free to do it. He can even wash me if he wanted to.
My mother eyed me from the couch that N wasn't attacking.
"I thought you put your hair up," she remarked, tilting her head as she examined me.
I rubbed my arm nervously, "Yeah, but I decided to wear it down."
"You look pretty, honey. You should wear it down more." She suggested, smiling.
I couldn't fight back the pleased smile that managed to break through my ever present frown. That's exactly what N had said, and the fact that someone else was telling me that made me feel a bit better about myself.
"Thanks, mom." I mumbled as I grabbed my purse and threw the keys in. I shook my head as I watched N run into the hallway to put the lint roller back in the hall closet. I guess I should be happy that his obsession was something that had a positive impact in the household rather than a negative. I'm sure my mother enjoyed it; she's barely had to do anything around the house since he's gotten here.
He rushed to my side and I opened the door, pulling out Reshiram's poke ball. I ventured as far away from the house as possible before I even thought about releasing him. N walked the opposite direction. It was something we both knew, but never had to say anything about. If we released the two dragons so close to one another, we'd have a fight on our hands. They both still held a bit of a grudge against each other, and for good reason. Whenever I think of that fight, I feel completely disgusting and shameful. It was long and brutal; definitely something that turned me off of battling for a while. It was one of those moments where I understood N's motives in some way.
I was too busy with my own thoughts that I didn't realize that N had already released Zekrom. I turned around slowly and let myself take in Zekrom's size. Reshiram may be a bit taller than his opposite, but the black dragon was way heavier. You could clearly see his muscle outlined on every part of his frame, and it was a bit terrifying. He was leaning down and N had his hand on his nose, eyes closed. I watched as Zekrom grumbled quietly, resulting in a small smile from N. It left me a bit disgruntled.
I was completely jealous of the fact that N could speak with his Pokémon. To know what they're saying
it must be the best feeling in the world. Who wouldn't want to hear what their friends were saying? It was hard having to interpret every action or sound that they make, but I think I fair pretty well. Still, it would be nice. Easier.
Zekrom's eye slid over in my direction. He let out a soft cry and N turned his head towards me, his eyes curious.
I quickly looked away and cursed myself. Zekrom must have told him I was staring or something. I sighed and pressed the button, tossing the poke ball in the air.
Reshiram wasn't really big on making an entrance; he usually just drops to the ground and stares at me. For some reason, however, he was feeling dramatic this evening. His flames burned brighter and I felt the scorching flames against my skin. I had to take a few steps back to avoid getting burned. He let out a thunderous roar, almost exactly like the one he had made when he had battled Zekrom.
I blinked in surprise.
"No, no, no!" I yelled, throwing down my purse and raising my hands in a panic. If they battled here, I'd be so screwed. "This is not a battle!"
Zekrom jerked up from N's hand and turned towards Reshiram, baring his fangs and snarling viciously. Volts of electricity shot across the yard and quickly smashed against the trees, causing flaming bits of wood to shower over us. Reshiram stomped his foot, and the impact nearly made me fall over. I lost complete control of the situation as I realized that the burning shards were eating away at my arm. I frantically brushed them off and winced as I felt the burn set in and make its mark against my skin.
Before I had a chance to relax, I was blasted by a huge stream of ice cold water. I was shot down so quickly that I almost blacked out, and I rolled on my side at least fifteen feet back, scraping my arm up in the process. My head was screaming in pain, and I grabbed my arm and yelled out every cuss word imaginable.
I felt Reshiram nudge me with his nose and I batted him away. I don't know what just happened, all I knew is that it hurt like hell and I just felt like dying right there on my lawn. Black spots were blurring my vision, and instead of dealing with them, I just closed my eyes. I drifted in and out of consciousness, only to wake up quickly when I felt warm hands grip my shoulders, shaking me.
"Touko!" N's voice gasped. I tried to say something, but it only came out as a garbled moan. I felt his hands claw their way to my back and he lifted me about a foot from the ground before propping me into the sitting position. Fatigue washed over me at the sudden movement, and I began to choke as I vomited up water.
Smaller, gentler hands pressed against my forehead. For a second I thought they were N's, but his were already on my back.
Must be mom, my scrambled mind was able to suggest. She must have heard Reshiram and Zekrom's little turf war.
"Okay, lift her up." A feminine voice said. Yes, definitely my mom.
I was too busy recognizing voices that I didn't register what they were saying. One of his arms went under my legs and I had a little moment of terror as I was lifted off the ground and I flailed aimlessly, desperately trying to get a hold of something. I managed to grasp something and I clung to it, comforted by the sense of security it granted me. I buried my face into the soft fabric and sighed raggedly, still careful of the fact that I could be retching up water any second.
It was then did I suddenly realize what I was grabbing hold of. My eyes shot open and I was greeted by the sight of N's bare throat. I blushed profusely, closing my eyes again. I was soaking wet, but he didn't seem to mind. He looked at me with a worried expression on his face as he carried me across the yard, almost tripping quite a few times. N wasn't the most muscular of men, so he rushed me into the house less than gracefully as he tried to support my weight.
I slid my eyes open a little bit and looked over his shoulder. The two dragons were standing by each other peacefully, their dispute long forgotten. Zekrom looked on with a bit of interest while Reshiram looked extremely worried. My dragon flapped his wings in an irritated manner as he bobbed his head back and forth, crying softly.
Forgive me, Touko. A voice pleaded to me.
"Huh?" I whispered. I've never heard that voice before in my life, yet it sounded oddly familiar. As if I knew it.
"Reshiram is sorry." N murmured, kicking the door shut behind him.
I stared at the door, mystified. That was
that was Reshiram. It had to be. He spoke with me, and I heard him.
"I know," I breathed, sinking back into his neck.
N got onto his knees and set me down on my back on the coffee table in the living room. I coughed, my head rolling to the side. The coasters were scattered on the floor, as well as the magazines. N actually allowed my mom to throw them on the ground?
My little joke got me laughing. I regretted it the second I started choking, and my whole body lurched upwards as I flipped over, banging my fists on the table. N's hand hit against my back, forcing out the water that was threatening my every breath.
"Thanks," I wheezed, closing my eyes.
N's hand didn't leave my back. I held my breath and shivered as his fingertips stroked my aching skin. If I wasn't on the verge of passing out, I probably would have jumped him. Instead, I allowed myself to be comforted by his warmth without letting frustration get in the way.
The normalcy ended, however, when his fingers curled through the fabric of my shirt and around the back of my bra.
I stiffened, my hands gripping the edges of the table. That caught me completely off guard, and my heart started beating wildly as I waited for his next move. I didn't think he could shock me anymore than he has already.
But of course, I was wrong.
He began pulling my shirt up and I shivered as the cool air made contact with my wet skin. I arched my back so he could get the soaking shirt off of me. His touch left a trail of hot fire in its wake, and suddenly, I didn't feel cold anymore. I vaguely wondered where my mother was, since there was no way he would do this if she was in the room.
I remembered the last time I was showing this much to N. He had told me something about indecency and marriage.
"I thought you had this rule about not being indecent around each other," I blurted out.
He looked down at my shirt in his hands, a blush creeping to his cheeks. "If you keep these wet clothes on, you'll get sick." He murmured, "Your mom is getting you a blanket."
I sat up. "I still have wet clothes on. I don't think just taking off my shirt will help prevent me from getting sick."
His head shot up towards me, his eyes wide in shock. "I- I, I can
I mean, if you want
but, maybe I should leave?"
His bewildered, innocent expression almost made me melt. "I'm just kidding." I reassured him.
I was totally lying.
He breathed out and smiled nervously, "Oh, okay. Good." He reached behind himself and grabbed a pillow, handing it to me. "Here."
I grabbed it and hugged it to my chest, "Thanks." I muttered. "What even happened? All I remember is getting blasted by water."
He grinned and looked down, scratching the back of his head. "Well
you didn't realize it, but you got a little too close to Reshiram and, well
" His eyes flickered to mine. "You were sort of on fire?" He admitted, although he made it sound like a question.
On fire? My mouth fell open, but before I could say anything, my mother came from behind me and put a blanket over my shoulders.
"It was just your foot," she added, walking around the table to sit on the couch behind N.
"That's not a big deal," I concluded, staring down at my foot. I noticed my right shoe was missing. "But what did you do with my shoe?"
"It's outside," N answered quickly.
My mom started laughing. I stared at her confusingly as N bit his lip and looked away, blushing fiercely. What's so funny about my shoe being outside?
She waived her hand at me and mouthed, tell you later.
I sighed, still not content with the answers I was getting. "Okay, but that still doesn't explain where the water came from."
N looked up at me, "I'm sorry about that
but Hydro Pump is the only water move Carracosta knows."
A chill ran through my entire body as I realized how dangerous that was. A Hydro Pump. One of the most powerful water attacks there was, and N had a Carracosta attack me with one. No wonder I was thrown back so far. I could have been killed.
Knowing that, I was faced with a harsh reality. A simple stomping of my foot would have destroyed the fire easily. Was N really that clueless that he would actually do something as stupid as almost murdering me?
What next, having his Vanilluxe use Blizzard on me because it was too hot in the kitchen?
I ran my fingers through my hair, letting everything sink in. I had a lot more work to do, and lusting after him wasn't going to cut it anymore.
"Can someone call Touya and tell him we're going to be a little late?" I murmured,
standing up. My lightheadedness made me sway, and N quickly grabbed my bare waist. The butterflies in my stomach went wild.
He knitted his eyebrows together, eyeing me like I was crazy. "We're still going?"
I nodded, resisting the urge to close my eyes and fall into his arms. "There's something I need to talk to him about in person."
We ended up taking just Zekrom to Touya's house. It wasn't some form of punishment for Reshiram for starting the fight, I was all too willing to forgive my friend and have him fly me there. But N and my mom both agreed that since I was still screwed up from Carracosta's Hydro Pump, it would be safer if I had someone holding on to me. That someone was N.
I still had enough sense to show the way to Touya's house, though. To tell you the truth, I felt pretty much alright in regards to the Hydro Pump. Carracosta must not have performed it to its full power, because if he did, they'd probably be picking up pieces of my body scattered all around the yard right now. The thing that really made me feel woozy was how N held me so closely. We were sitting on Zekrom backwards, with N holding me tightly and leaning against the dragon's shoulder blade. I barely heard the thunderous roaring of the wind; I was falling into my own little world, where it was us and only us.
I could get used to that idea.
I snapped out of my little trance when I heard Zekrom's feet touch against the ground. Zekrom began to straighten up and N's grip around me tightened as we slid off his back.
I thought I had a good control of my body, but once I felt the ground beneath my feet, my knees buckled and I fell to the ground. Today just wasn't my day.
N helped me up, muttering an apology. I brushed my pants and avoided looking at him; I was embarrassed enough as it is, I didn't need him seeing my reddened face.
I walked on ahead, stretching my legs as I tried to get them working normal. N recalled Zekrom and quickly followed me up to Touya's door.
I knocked on the door and hoped he wouldn't be too mad about us being late. I began to rub my arms; for some reason, it was always cold whenever I came over to Touya's. The fact that my hair was a bit damp didn't make it any better, and with a defeated sigh, I pretty much accepted the fact that I was going to get sick.
All of this because my shoe was on fire and N didn't know stop, drop, and roll.
The door began to open and I couldn't wait to run inside and sit in front of the heater. I began to imagine cuddling up with his Emboar when I heard N quickly suck in a breath.
I looked up to see Touya smiling at us, wearing nothing but boxers.
My mouth fell open. What the hell is wrong with him? Didn't I tell him how jealous N gets? My hand twitched as I resisted the urge to punch him in his stupid mouth.
Then, it suddenly hit me. He did this deliberately; he wanted to garner a reaction from N. He wanted to see the extent of N's jealousness while totally disregarding my feelings entirely. He was using me as a pawn to get what he wanted.
I'm going to kill him.
"Hi, Touko," he greeted me happily, a grin on his face.
I clenched my teeth as N's hand grabbed mine, fighting back the anger that was threatening to reach its boiling point. The boys I surround myself with are so stupid.
Touya's eyes flickered to our hands and he narrowed his eyes, the corner of his lip curving upwards. He looked so devious, and it only pissed me off more that he was getting what he wanted.
"Hey, N. It's been a long time." He extended his hand to N, who was staring at him with his eyes wide. He blinked and hesitantly shook his hand, and I winced as N's grip on my hand became significantly tighter.
I dragged N into the house, "Can you at least put some clothes on?" I growled.
He closed the door, "Where's the fun in that?"
I glared at him with all the fury I had pent up this evening. N brushed his hand over my head, trying to calm me. I defiantly jerked my head away from his hand; I was done with his idiotic attempts at ownership over me. I wanted Touya to get some clothes on so we could start acting normal.
"Okay, okay." Touya said, putting his palms up. "But, can you get them for me? I want to show N around."
He was up to something, but I didn't really care about that at the moment. If it meant that he would get dressed, then I was fine with it. N let go of my hand and I made my way upstairs to Touya's room, content with leaving the two idiots alone together.
I shut Touya's door behind me and made my way over to his dresser. I yanked open one of drawers and pulled out a shirt, tossing it on top of the dresser as I began to look for a pair of pants. I found some jeans and pulled them out, stopping when I saw a pair of sweats under them.
Mine now, I thought darkly as I started to pull down my pants. I put on his sweats and welcomed the warmth they granted me. I grabbed his clothes and was ready to make my way back downstairs when I saw a little green box on his bed. It had a little sign on it that read: For Touko.
Something inside of me screamed not to open it, since Touya was definitely being a trickster tonight. If I didn't open it, however, I would be thinking about it the entire evening. How bad could it be, really?
My curiosity got the better of me. I dropped the clothes on the ground and walked over. I sat on the bed and picked up the box, pulling off the lid and cautiously peering inside.
Of course. Of course Touya would get me a box of condoms.
I threw the box against the wall, fuming. Why did I have to be constantly reminded of the fact that I can't get what I want? Also, why did Touya have to be so much of a pervert? Why couldn't he treat me the way he treated me that one night, kind and brotherly? My emotions were in turmoil and I was suffering, I needed him to be there for me.
I stared at the condoms that were scattered all around the floor. Maybe this actually was Touya's way of saying that he cared. He's never been much of person who talked about feelings and problems. Perhaps he was trying to tell me to be safe without actually having to go through the awkward conversation.
Still, whatever the reason, I found myself walking over to the mess and kneeling down. I picked them up and put them back in the box, feeling a bit guilty for the mess I made. When I picked up the last four, I didn't toss them in the box like the others. I stared at them in my hand for quite some time.
I sighed and shoved them in my pocket.