View Full Version : All That Matters (Originshipping, m/m)

The Incarnation Pokemon
April 23rd, 2005, 7:38 PM
Chapter 1: Confession

The last thing Wallace was expecting upon his return to Sootopolis was a visitor. The League Champion had made arrangements and obtained permission to return to his hometown for a brief visit with his teacher and the Pokmon that he had left behind when he had assumed his new rank. He was fairly certain that he had left Ever Grande in as inconspicuous a manner as possible, so that no one other than the other Elite Four members and his former teacher would have known of his return. Nevertheless, at this very moment his Pokmon were insisting that someone was at the door.

"But that's odd...I didn't hear any knocking. Or footsteps." And his Pokmon were acting far too calmly for the visitor to be a thief or intruder, even though half past three a.m. was a decidedly unusual time for most people to be up and about. Then again, he hadnt been able to sleep himself, and had chosen to deal with his insomnia by introducing his new Pokmon to his old ones and catching up on recent developments with the latter, all whilst basking in the calm ambience of the night.

<He's just standing at the door. He hasn't knocked yet, although it looks like he wants to. Now he's starting to leave.> This most recent piece of information came to Wallace courtesy of his Milotichis most trusted Pokmon and one of the only ones who had been able to stay with him in his transition from Gym Leader to Champion.

"He?" Wallace pondered the significance of this as he raced to the door and opened it just in time to see a figure freeze in mid-walk about twenty meters from the doorstep. As his eyes adjusted to the dim moonlight, Wallace detected something familiar about the person.

"Steven? Is that you?"

The figure made no response. Wallace was now fairly certain that it was indeed his longtime friend whom he had not seen for nearly a year. He quickly caught up to the figure, which at least was not making any attempt to get away. He confirmed his suspicions upon approach.

"Steven! Why, it's been a while, hasn't it? How are you doing?"

Steven did not turn around.

"Steven...Are you all right? What are you doing here at this hour? Is something wrong?"

Nothing but silence greeted all of Wallace's questions, which was enough to answer at least one of them.

"Would you care to tell me what's bothering you?" Wallace reached out and put a hand on Steven's shoulder to call his attention. He felt Steven flinch under the touch, although the other man did not move away.


An expectant silence.

And then, almost inaudible despite the silence of the night:

"I'm sorry."

Wallace found it difficult to decipher the muttered words.


There was another silence. Then...

"Wallace." The word was a mere whisper. Steven at last began slowly turning around to face his friend. However, he kept his head down so that Wallace could see nothing of the facial expression hidden beneath the wind-tousled strands of silvery-blue hair.

"I...I'm so sorry..."

"You're...sorry?" Wallace could now easily guess the expression he couldn't see, but this only left him more confused.

"I...I went traveling..."

The water trainer forced his mind to adjust to this bit of non sequitur.

"Yes, as you always do."

"I went...all around Hoenn..."

"Did something happen somewhere?" Wallace desperately wanted Steven to get to the point. The water trainer was only too aware that speaking in a direct, concise manner was second nature to a businessman's son with a scientifically-oriented mind. He therefore found Steven's sudden attack of circumlocution highly unnerving.

"...and thenII met someone.


Aa verypowerful trainer.

Do I get a name?

Steven hesitated again. Its, well, lets just say youve probably heard of this person.

"All right, Ill take that as a no. Let me guess, you battled the trainer, he or she defeated you, and you came back here to apologize for losing," Wallace teased.

"No, its not like that at all! Steven stopped, surprised by his own sudden outburst. Sorry. What I meant is...wewe just talked. Mostly. Thats all."

"Oh? But somehow I doubt that just talking would leave you this upset."

Steven did not respond.

"I won't stop questioning you until you tell me, you know."

"We battled."

Wallace smiled mischievously. "Ah, so you did"

"But we didn't finish. We called it a draw, becauseI meanhe said somethingasked me somethingand then I..."

"And then you?" Wallace silently noted the new detail revealed by Stevens choice of pronoun.

"I Steven knew it was now or never, and he just couldnt bring himself to keep a secret like this from such a close friend. It's really complicated, but some things happened and wewe got...involved." There, hed said it.

"Involved? How do you mean?"

"I mean...I...the way we...you and I...were..." Steven's voice faltered.

Wallace mentally finished the sentence and gave himself a moment to digest this information. He could feel the tension emanating from Steven as the young man awaited a response.

II see. Wallace noted with concern that his companion flinched visibly the instant the first syllable broke the silence. Another long period of silence followed, and then Steven spoke.

Im so sorry. And if youre angry, I understand. You have every right to be.

I do? What for? Wallace asked with his head tilted quizzically to one side.

Steven looked up in surprise. "What do you mean 'what for'? Didn't you hear what I just said?"

Finally able to get a good look at his friends face, Wallace took his time observing the trepidation in his companions flustered expression before responding, "Yes, indeed I did."

"Then...Then you ought to know exactly why..." Steven let his words trail off as the realization hit him:

"You're not angry with me?"

"Is there some reason I should be?"

"Is there any reason you shouldn't be? I just admitted to...doing that...with...with a complete stranger, after weyou and Ihad already!" Steven did not bother to hide the embarrassment and frustration he feltfrustration partially at himself for being so stupid and vulnerable, and frustration partially at Wallace for remaining so calm. His frustration only deepened when Wallace's reacted to his outburst with an amused chuckle.

"Come now, Steven, the expression beautiful stranger wasnt invented for nothing. You can hardly be blamed for acting according to human natureespecially given that your own nature is unusually sweet and guileless." Wallace's voice was soft, almost purring, and Steven found himself hating the way the silken sound flowed through his mind and broke through every last one of his usually-impregnable mental defenses. How could one person hold so much power over anyone, least of all over someone who prided himself on his ability to conceal and suppress any and all emotions at will? But all the irritation in the world could not stop the sound, and it continued, as mesmerizing as ever.

"Besides, I would've been surprised if you of all people didn't find a powerful trainer attractive." Wallace tilted the corner of his mouth up in a sly smile. The expression only served to aggravate Steven's discomfiture. "He must have been quite charming, Wallace added, watching with mischievous enjoyment and just the slightest twinge of guilty pleasure as the pink already tinting his friend's cheeks deepened to a shade of crimson.

"II stillI never should have...I never should have agreed...I never should have let myself..."

"I don't see why."

"What-what do you mean? What I did..."

"I'm quite aware of what you did, Steven, and I don't see any reason to be upset about it. Well, I suppose I might be a bit concerned if it wasnt consensual"

"No! I mean, no, it-it wasit must have beenconsensualon my part and his" Steven kept his gaze trained on the floor. "Its just...right now, I can't imagineWallace, I'm so sorry." Steven stood staring at the ground for another minute or so. Then, as if he suddenly remembered where he was, he turned to leave. However, he had not taken two steps when the gentle pressure of a hand on his arm arrested his progress.

The Incarnation Pokemon
April 26th, 2005, 1:28 AM
Chapter 2: Tension

"Steven. Steven, please. It's all right."

"I really should go."

Steven, you realize that its almost four in the morning?

So? Youre up, arent you?

What about your Pokmon? I should think that they wont be too pleased.

Thats all right. My Pokmon will be fine; none of them are strictly diurnal. And Ill be doing paperwork all day tomorrow, so theyll have as much time as they want to rest up.

Thats not what I meant. They might not have set patterns of rest and activity, but Im sure they know that you do, and I doubt they approve of you wearing yourself out. And if youve got enough paperwork to keep you occupied all day, you certainly wont be able to rest up. I can tell youre exhausted even as we speak. The least you can do is come inside and sit awhile.

Steven realized there would be no arguing with his friend, so he let Wallace lead him into the house. Both were greeted at the door by Wallaces Pokmon, who despite the formality of their greeting were apparently just as pleased to see Steven as their trainer had been. Steven returned their polite but congenial salutations, and decided that his own Pokmon could do with some company as well. The Pokmon were aware of the crowding that was now occurring in the house, and excused themselves outside, convenientlyand not unintentionallyleaving their trainers alone. The Milotic even shared a knowing glance with his trainer as he closed the door behind him with his tail.

Now once again alone with Wallace, Steven felt embarrassment overcome him. He shifted awkwardly in his standing position and made several attempts to raise his head, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not bring himself to look at his friend. This left Wallace to break the silence.

Steven, Ive already told you theres no reason for you to apologize. You havent done anything wrong. Wallace did not bother to hide the fact that he was getting tired of Stevens continued guilt trip. However, Steven still couldnt understand the reasons for his friends continued apathy toward his confession.


What do you mean, Why?

WhyWhy arent you angry? As if it werent enough that I forced the burden of the Championship on you, I used the new freedom youd given mea freedom that you and your Pokmon alone paid the price forby going off and fooling around with someone else! And worst of all, I did that after wed alreadygiven ourselves to each other! Ive done the unforgivable, and yet youyou Stevens chest was heaving with barely contained emotion, making it impossible for him to continue speaking.

Steven, please calm down. I now see why you expect me to be angry, but the truth is that those are the reasons that you are angry with yourself, not the reasons that I should be angry with you.

ThenThenyoure still not? Steven was stunned. Even after all that he had just said

Of course not! Noting the expression on Stevens face after this declaration, Wallace quickly added, And before you continue feeling guilty about how you dont deserve such magnanimity from me, you should know that my lack of anger doesnt stem from any sort of altruism. I havent gotten any saintlier since we last met, and if you had indeed done something to hurt our relationship, I would most certainly be angry. But the fact is that you havent. When you told me why I should be angry with you, you were comparing things of two entirely different magnitudes. Im surprised you dont realize this. Wallace raised an eyebrow at his friend in mild consternation.

Whatwhat do you mean? What havent I realized? What do you mean by comparing things of two different magnitudes?

I mean the difference in importance between what I did in taking over for you as Champion and what you did in becoming involved with a stranger. A relationship as close as ours has to be based on thingsevents, emotions, memoriesthat truly mean something to us, things that have affected us deeply and permanently: my taking over for you as Champion is one of those things, our little one-night stand was not.

What? Are-Are youAre you saying that sleeping with me didnt affect you! Stevens disbelief and agitation caused his voice to rise in volume and pitch. It certainly affected me! And Im pretty sure the memory wont disappear anytime soon! Stevens voice quavered on those last words. Seeing the other man so distressed, Wallaces gaze softened, and he reached out and gently grasped Stevens hand, squeezing it softly in reassurance. He half-expected Steven to pull away, but instead felt a brief tightening of fingers around his own. Wallace smiled in relief and responded to his friends question.

It did affect me, and I treasure that moment and hope never to forget it. But I must ask you, which do you think means more to me: the romance we had for one night, or the friendship that weve had for years? Which do you think our relationship is based on?

Steven realized what his friend was trying to say and felt slightly stupid for not realizing it sooner, but even so, not all of his doubts had been quelled. II thoughtbecause weddone thatthat we were in love, and that it was part of our relationship now! Our relationship isnt just one of platonic friendship anymoreis it?

And what if it isnt? Even if romance is now part of our relationship, it certainly isnt the most important part! At least, Ive never thought of it as part of the basis of our relationship. Ive always seen it as a sort ofside effect that happened because were so close.

But...Wallace, didnt you know that it was precisely because were so close that I was afraid that Id damaged our relationship? If we werent so close, Id never even worry that youd be angry with me for what I did, because Id be certain that you wouldnt care and wouldnt be hurt if you knew. But because we are so closeIII was so afraid that Id hurt you thatthatit never occurred to me that you wouldnt see it the same way I did

Wallace could feel Stevens hand trembling in his own, and he entwined their fingers together in an attempt to comfort the distraught man.

Its all right

No, no its not! Steven jerked his hand away and clenched it into a fist.

Wallace sighed. They appeared to have taken a step backwards.