*grumbles about busy beta-readers* SO absolutely sorry for this delay, but bear with me, I had to put up with a exam-writing beta-reader. ^.~
Last shipping of this fic was included last chapter as I said. It was WikiErrorShipping (great name, really), aka Cynthia x Lance.
5.Chapter, Part 2: Breakups& Breakdowns
“It’s over, William.”
“What?” Now he was mirroring her non-existing movements, staring at her as well. He felt so cold, frozen in place, frozen in that one moment of time. He could hear her words, yet it was as if they had never reached his consciousness. He could just not grasp their meaning, his whole mind frozen, too cold to think.
Sabrina closed her eyes, appearing to be sighing. Will wondered if he could trust his eyes anymore, for he saw a white haze appearing as she spoke, indicating that the temperature around them had indeed fallen. Yet that was not possible, was it? They were still in the stadium, on a spring’s afternoon...weren’t they? He couldn’t be sure anymore, as his mind played tricks on him-unbelievable tricks.
“It’s over. Our relationship...is over.” She opened her eyes again and her icy blue stare bore into his lively violet one. There couldn’t be a bigger contrast between the auras those two gave off. Sabrina was cold, unemotional, and uncaring again, while Will was still feeling the heat of the battle, the happiness from all the persons greeting and congratulating him. All the warmness.
“What? You can’t be, you can’t be serious!” he exclaimed, suddenly shocked and slightly frightened. She didn’t look as if she was joking at all....
“I am serious.” Her voice had turned into a whisper-a quiet clear whisper, which was as sharp as the hiss of a snake. He could understand every word. Every word was understandable, and yet not understandable for him.
“But, why?” He shook his head, still not believing what she was saying. She wanted to...break up with him? Why, just why? He thought it had been love...true love...but, had it all been a joke now? The Sabrina he knew wasn’t joking, not about serious things like their time together. But then...that meant she really...was breaking up with him. “Why?”
Her sigh sounded helpless, hurt, as if she was hoping for herself not to be there, not to have to do what she was doing. And yet, she forced herself to speak to him.
“You don’t love me. I see that now. Please understand me, Will. I do not wish to be hurt anymore. It’s better, for both of us.”
“But, but...” He couldn’t believe her words. She actually thought he didn’t love her?! Had she lost her sanity?! He loved her more than anything else! He bit his tongue, fearing he hadn’t shown his love as much as maybe he needed. Maybe he should have kept away from Janine, but...it hadn’t been his decision, damnit! He had no chance to get away from her! “I do love you! Please, believe me!“ If she was so strong of a psychic, couldn’t she just read his mind and find out?
But...maybe she had done that. Maybe he was lying to himself. Maybe he did love Janine...
No. Definitely not. Will shook his head.
“I wish I could believe you, Will, yet what you’ve done speaks against you.” She closed her eyes again. “Just remember...I loved you. I wish it could have worked, but it did not. Goodbye.”
And with her last word, she disappeared, reality surrounding Will again. He could see Janine, Lance, and all the other trainers around him, concerned, as he was kneeling on the stairs, apparently pale and not completely on the earth anymore. Dimly, he wondered if Sabrina had teleported him somewhere, or what else it had been about, but more important things flashed into his mind, making him jump, even though his legs weren’t that strong. He nearly fell, trying to run up the stairs. But his hope was destroyed.
Sabrina wasn’t there anymore.
The town of Indigo was not only known for its famous league and the tournaments that took stage here, but also for the mass of touristic industries that had been built around it, benefitting from the attractiveness it had on the trainers. And with that, not only ten-year olds were appealed.
Indigo Town had many night bars, adult cinemas, dancing theatres and other colourful establishments with their fancy decorations, disguising names, hidden entries and bright, gleaming neon lights. Many of them were in downtown, where the more celebrated, richer citizens claimed they never went to, but that was only the attempt of keeping the clean, straight image of infallibility.
In reality, many of the high society member parties took place there, as those were the only places where they could forget the strict rules, the rigid conventions, and just be humans, with all their emotions, tragedies, feelings, happiness, and dirtiness. Not to mention that they were technically the only ones who could pay the horrendous prices for...special staff.
If there was one place you theoretically couldn’t find Sabrina Bennett in, it was there.
But today’s night was not a usual night, not after everything that had happened the afternoon before.
Her dark violet coat wrapped tightly around her body, she walked silently through the shadows, out of the reach of the flickering street lamps and blinding neon sights, the rounded dusty tubes in ugly loud colours. It was getting cold again, the warm of the afternoon and April’s sun misleading one to the conclusion it might already be summer in the mountains, when it wasn’t. The nights were still cold; sometimes there were even small layers of ice covering the fresh, small blossoms on the trees at the streets’ sides. Sabrina didn’t know why she was forcing herself to do this, to wander around aimlessly when it was close to midnight, and anything but safe outside. She should go back to her hotel room, to her bed and try to find some sleep. But deep inside, she knew she wouldn’t be able to bear the emotional pain, knowing that she was so close to him and yet...so far. She wouldn’t find any sleep in a hotel room that was directly next to his. And since she hadn’t bothered with finding a new one the whole afternoon- who could take offence at that, regarding all the trouble she had been through?-there was not much she could do right now, besides spending the whole night on the streets. She felt even lonelier now, with the darkness not only surrounding her body, but also her soul. There was no one caring for her anymore. If she got attacked there, robbed, hurt, raped...no one would care. No one.
Sniffing and glancing at the side, where some fat, unshaved scum was drinking...unrecognizable stuff, she shook her head. She could take care of herself, as she wasn’t one of the most powerful psychics for nothing. Yet, it would have been nice not to be truly alone in the world, to have at least someone she could lean on, someone that saw in her more than just the gym leader and the psychic, but the...person.
Again, the young woman shook her head. It wouldn’t help her anything to pity herself. Somehow, she had to survive this night and then, maybe then, everything would look a bit brighter the next morning. After all, the meeting would be over in six days, and then she would be home again, maybe finally able to forget all the nasty incidents and...him.
She had to go back to regularity after all. She had her gym and school to lead and that was enough trouble for her, yet trouble she was used to. She could deal with that. Not with a broken heart, though.
Maybe it had been her fault, her inexperience. She had never been loved before-at least not in the romantic way, for she at least hoped that her parents did love her, even after all she had put them through. Maybe that had been the reason she had been stupid enough to be tricked, to be cheated on. She had no understanding of the ways of love. She was one of the strongest gym leaders-and lacked knowledge of the most essential human emotion. She was truly pathetic.
Even more pathetic was the fact that she was already missing him. And couldn’t help but think of him.
“Damn it!” the psychic cursed, kicking an empty can in front of her, so hard it bounced off the bin to her left and flew right into it. She couldn’t forget him as easily as she had hoped. Life wasn’t just as easy anymore, now that she had a whole bunch of emotions to deal with. Sometimes, she wished Ash had never set foot in Saffron City. Sometimes, she wondered if she had been better off without any emotions.
After all, she had only ended up hurt.
Glancing at the illuminated side of the street, she noticed a lonely bar, its wooden door half open, sending a warm, orange light onto the stony sidewalk. It seemed different from all the other pubs: more friendly, more like home, more...more like something she definitely needed right now. Besides sleep.
Maybe she did need a drink. After all, alcohol was said to make your mind clearer, right?
Glancing to the left and the right, she sprinted over to the entrance, swallowing her fear and hesitance, yet wondering where these feelings even came from. She had no reason to be afraid, no reason to be uncertain-after all, her powers were her safest protection. She could get out of every situation; she didn’t need anyone to guard her.
A wall of stale air hit her, smelling of different types of alcohol, wood polisher, and cigarette smoke. Clearly, this was no place she would ever visit if she had her sanity, but right now, she couldn’t imagine a more fitting atmosphere. Better than crying into her bed sheets at least. She assumed she should be surprised by her own behaviour, but she wasn’t. There were other things certainly more shocking...
Like the presence of Lucian and Claire.
“What...what are you two doing here?” Sabrina asked, walking up to her two fellow trainers and hanging her coat over the backrest of an empty chair, before sitting down on a barstool to Lucian’s right.
“Well, what does it look like?” the psychic elite trainer said slowly, downing a small glass filled with an amber-coloured liquid. “Drowning our sorrows, that it!” His voice went through several octaves.
Claire laughed, a high, shaking laugh, mixed with a coughing. She had a colourful cocktail in front of her, even with a small cherry which was nearly covered by blue-white froth in the middle. “But they seem to...to can swim...” she hiccupped, hitting the bar table with her fist. “Another one, please!” The barkeeper, a young, brown-haired man with a small beard, wearing blue-red-white clothes, nodded without looking at her, getting a similar glass and a few bottles with fancy labels and pictures of beaches.
“What sorrows, if I may ask?” Sabrina wasn’t looking at Lucian and Claire anymore, rather watching the barman and his mixings. It did look fascinating and she supposed she could have a drink herself, as after all, one couldn’t hurt so much and she knew how to restrain herself enough to leave it at that. Now, if she only knew what these names meant, and what ingredients were in them...
“Ah, fickle things, you know, love...” Lucian suddenly sounded as if he had aged fifty years in a matter of five minutes. “We both got turned down.” He laughed, a short, empty laugh, closing his eyes and rocking back and forth on the stool, while trying to grab the next small glass with the same liquid. Sabrina was close to helping the poor guy. Yet she did not know if it would really help him if she got the glass for him or if it would be better to pour it into the sink.
Claire nodded, shaking her head as she managed to get her nose dipped into the cocktail. “Lance an-and that, you know, that woman from Sin, Sin, Sinnoh...they were seen together today. Somewhere. Kissing.” ‘What an... unfortunate coincidence...’ Sabrina mused, her mood suddenly as down as Claire’s head. Lucian chuckled suddenly, yet sounding as if he was close to vomiting.
“And then both of them break up with us. Funny, not? Just after the battle...just after I’m down already...stupid shippers, messed up our whole plan...” He laughed and grabbed blindly, trying to get the third glass, but all he was holding was the ashtray and he had to thank Sabrina for not getting an extreme case of silicosis.
The psychic gym leader sighed deeply. “Same here, actually... Will cheated on me, too.” She looked downwards, at the strained wooden floor and so, she was fairly startled when a hand touched her shoulder.
“You, too?” both Lucian and Claire exclaimed, the former being the one touching her, while the latter rather pronounced something that sounded like ‘Youtwo’.
Lucian leaned back, forgetting that the barstool had to backrest for a moment and almost fell down, yet steadied himself sideward at the last second. “You now, eh, know, ehm...we should open up some club, hehe...the leftovers or something.” Sabrina sweatdropped, while Claire hit the table so hard with her fist that the glasses clanged and one of Lucian’s actually tipped over and fell down.
“Never! I’m no going ta be in the some, eh, same class, no, wait club as her!” she exclaimed while pointing at Sabrina, or at least in her general direction, as it couldn’t be made out where Claire actually wanted to point with her whole body wavering.
“No offence, but I don’t want, either,” Sabrina whispered, not daring to cross Claire’s eyes. They had never been on good terms and even though Claire was drunk right now, she wouldn’t suddenly start acting all friendly. Maybe she was indeed in desperate need of company, but she wouldn’t lower herself to the level of actually trying to make friends with one of her bigger enemies.
Lucian patted her shoulder again, smiling whimsically. “Ah, I can understand what you’re going through, we all can, we all can.” He sighed and indicated the barkeeper to come closer. “Bring her something, too. I’ll pay for it.“ For a moment, Sabrina wanted to turn down the offer, knowing that whatever she would get now would, for once, be unknown to her and second, not good for her anyway. But then, against her better knowledge, she stayed quiet. What was the point of going to a bar when you didn’t even drink? She was there to have some fun, to forget all the pain of that day, and what better resolution was there than drinking? Of course, not much. She wouldn’t allow herself to get drunk like both Claire and Lucian were, as her self-esteem, or rather what was left of it, would get in the way of that anyway.
And still, she accepted the drink without even asking what it was. Different from Claire’s cocktail, of course, hers was a bright red. ‘Like the colour of...’ Sighing, she closed her eyes and took a small sip. It tasted sweet, yet bitter at the same time. ‘Fitting, very fitting.’ She supposed she could get used to this flavour.
Miles away from the debacle that was about to happen, a young girl, barely in her teenage years, bounced along the empty, quiet street, marked with diverse flowers, bushes and trees. A lonely street lamp was the only witness of her joyfulness, or so the girl at least thought.
She held onto the street lamp with one hand and spun around it like in that old movie with the cheesy rain song. Yet she couldn’t care less, as after all, she had to show the world how great she felt, how lucky she was, how good everything had turned out. She had the cutest boy in the whole of Indigo in her hands, and no one, absolutely no one, was ever going to take him away from her now. May her friends think now that she was egoistical, keeping Will all for herself, when the original plan had only been getting his mind off Sabrina, and then starting yet another competition for his heart, but who cared? Not her, not her.
She had played foul when stealing Will- though Janine herself wouldn’t describe it as stealing, more like getting him back on the right road, and now she played foul by keeping him. So what? Life was never fair, but it was good.
At least for her. Deep inside, Janine knew she had caused some hearts to break that day, but she suppressed these dark thoughts as good as she could, lowering their importance and quantity. Sabrina would get over it, Janine was sure of that. After all, that witch had never deserved him, and she should know that, so it would have been only a matter of time until the right princess for the handsome came and saved him out of the grasp of the witch. She had no, absolutely no right to be sad and depressed now, for their relationship had been anything but real, anything but true love. Janine wondered briefly how a guy as smart as Will could have fallen into such a wicked trap, though she supposed Sabrina’s abilities had helped a bit. ‘What an unfair trick, influencing him with her powers...that cheater!’ Janine grumbled, pressing her fingers together so hard that there was a quiet cracking sound. Janine felt angry, at the same time not knowing who she was angry at. Sabrina, for stealing so much of the time the young ninja and Will could have spent together? Her friends, for choosing her out of pure boredom and fuelling the rivalry between them when it was clear that there could be only one girl winning in the end? Will, for not recognising her emotions earlier? Or herself, for having caused this mess?
Surprisingly, Lance had taken this rather well. Janine put a finger to her chin, recalling the short briefing they had after the battle. Lance seemed...well, rather calm and relaxed, yet with his mind elsewhere. He had this weird, unusual wicked smile, too. As if he wasn’t completely himself. But then, Lance often overtaxed himself, so it was probably just his strained nerves playing games with his personality.
Would fit the rumours about him breaking up with Claire all of a sudden and making up to Cynthia, of all the people!
Janine shrugged. Those matters did not concern her, aside from the general topic of breaking up. After all, Sabrina had officially given up Will, or so other sources said, and so, he was free. Free for her, of course. For her only. She had confessed her feelings to him, now she only needed to wait until he would do the same. He still had about six days, and Janine figured that would be enough for the poor, still confused boy to sort everything out and finally see that the right girl for him had always been around, just waiting in the shadows.
Yet, the right girl was not the one waiting in the shadows right now, but rather someone else. Someone Janine knew very well, and respected very much.
“Daughter, I must say I’m deeply disappointed with you.” ”Yikes!” Janine suddenly let go of the street lamp’s post, and landed face down straight on the street walk, embarrassing herself even more. Now her father had seen her singing....
“Daddy- I mean, dear father,” Janine bowed, one side of her face still decorated with grey, little pebbles. “It’s an honour to meet you here, after...” Koga waved his hand, silencing Janine.
“Cut off the formalities, Janine. I’m here to speak to you both as your mentor and your father.” He sighed. “What you’ve done is wrong. Very wrong.“
“What?” Janine didn’t really get what she had done wrong. Her father had every right to scold and discipline her, yet she had no idea what it was about now...
“Janine, it’s a ninja's rule to play fair. And not to meddle with others’ emotions.” He sighed. “Love is a very complicated thing; I can imagine that a girl as young as you doesn’t know all its subtleties yet. You’re still too immature, that speaks for you, so I can still forgive you of many of your mistakes. What I can’t forgive, though, is that you deliberately broke up a young, until now very happy couple.” His dark eyes locked onto hers, never leaving her and scanning her soul as precisely as an X-ray unit could.
“But, but?” Janine blinked. She would have never thought that her father would try to interfere with her love life; she thought she had at least those freedoms. “Sabrina didn’t deserve him! He was always supposed to be mine! My boyfriend!”
Koga sighed. He truly was speaking to a little, naive little child, but then, he should have expected that from his daughter. She still had much to learn to achieve true wisdom.
“And who told you this? Who played the cards of fate and decided that they wouldn’t be king and queen of the same colour and symbol? You?” he laughed. But it was a friendly laugh, not meant to make his daughter feel ashamed, even though it was debatable if she didn’t deserve that. “Maybe they are meant for each other. How should you know? You only threw yourself right into the mess, not caring about the damage you might cause. Janine, I’m really disappointed with you. Ninjas do not try to steal their beloved ones; they do not destroy steady relationships.” He closed his eyes, sighing. After all the scolding, he had to admit that he wasn’t all that innocent himself.
“Yet, I feel responsible for this, too. I have watched you, and kept watching for too long, letting things go freely without my intervention. Had I talked to you earlier, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Janine blinked. “What do you mean, wouldn’t have happened?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. Maybe her question would get her father’s mind of the discussion, as for now, Janine did feel guilty. She had been reckless and thoughtless.
Koga sighed. “I have been keeping an eye on Sabrina, knowing that after everything she’s been through, she might be a bit...emotionally unstable.” ‘Please bear with me, my dear....I came too late.’
“And?” Janine crossed her arms defensively. No way would she start feeling remorse because of that...witch. Guilt, yes, because her father was angry with her, but never remorse. Sabrina didn’t need her apology.
Her father sighed again. “Janine, she is in a bar in downtown Indigo...and drunk.“
“Oh...” Knowing Sabrina, this was a grim situation. And suddenly, Janine did feel the whole weight of shame and regret wash over her.