Note: So for those that don't know this is a one shot about two characters. This doesn't have spoilers since it occurs years before my canonical Book 1 and has no real important relevance save for merely showing more of the bond that two characters have. So without further ado, I hope you all enjoy.
The Snow I Miss
The cold winds blew gently through the streets in while mons were all out busying on their business or chatting. It wasn’t your typical winter day, or at least not for one person. That person being currently late.
Yes, poor Nasch never was good with time and found himself late once again. With huffs of warm air bursting out from his mouth, young nidoking rushed frantically down a sweet little living area, doing his best not to run into walls, mons, and making sure to say “Pardon!” or “Sorry!” as he went by. The small droplets of snow didn’t feel present on this male however and with good reason. His heart did it’s best to emphasize how overworked it was getting and seemed to rise in temp with summer for every extra minute it took him to get there.
Finally, he saw it. “Smith’s café and coffeehouse”. With one more furious push of his muscles, Nasch rushed into across the street, through the doors, and frantically looked around. Despite all the eyes returning a glance to him Nasch only cared to see one particular pair of eyes. His head fell slightly and his hand slipped from the door. Am I too late? He thought, gritting his teeth in self-frustration.
This depressing demeanor was cut short by a hand resting on his shoulder, with a gentle force to match the gentle voice that said, “Nasch, when I said never change, I didn’t mean your lateness.”
Nasch’s eyes widened. He knew that voice and what he was in for. Slowly, Nasch turned to see the face of another nidoking. He was about two inches taller than our Nasch and looked much more reserved and smiling as one would at a party with dear friends. Nasch took one big gulp, making his friend laugh a little and with his eyes shut, weak laugh and along with the rubbing of his head said, “Heh, so I can merely call misunderstanding then?”
“Only if you don’t want me to pay for you.” The other one smiled and took his arm off. “Unless you’re trying to say you didn’t forget your money this time?”
“Nope,” Nasch said with an odd proud smile, “I completely forgot it.” The two shared a laugh and then gave a hug.
“Many lights for your winter,” The two wished each other and went to get a seat.
Nasch looked around at the old place, whistling as he noticed some new furnishings added. “Mon, I didn’t expect them to try getting a little more stylish.”
“Perhaps your lagginess was slowing them down, Nasch,” the other one joked.
“Hey!” Nasch responded with a ‘playing along’ smile. “Not like they’d take managing advice from me, Vadlek.” Nasch slouched back into his chair.
Vadlek gave a grunt with a grin and looked out the window. “Then you don’t mind if I punish you by having already made our order?”
“What‽” Nasch shouted, once again gaining the entire establishment’s attention. “I wasn’t that late.”
“I call being over five minutes late more than just simply trying to be fashionable,” Nasch pointed out as rolled his neck, “Let alone trying to prove to me that you, who tries to be ‘fashionable’.”
Defeated and devastated, Nasch slouched back into his seat. After a few minutes of Nasch’s internal groaning and Vadlek looking out the window, the late one finally mustered himself. “It’s good to see you again.”
“Indeed…good to see you as well.” Their smiles locked, but Vadlek raised a brow upon seeing Nasch’s head fall slightly. “What’s wrong?” Vadlek leaned on the table a little.
“Well…” Nasch found the words hard to say, leading Vadlek to lean back.
“It’s about the growing tensions isn’t it?” Nasch didn’t reply, but Vadlek knew full well the struggle. He could see it in Nasch’s eyes. The mon he valued as a Sorphian brother with a Norfarion on his right shoulder, torn about the current turmoil that was the reality around him. “Nasch.” Vadlek cupped the other’s hand in his, making Nasch look at him in surprise. “Don’t feel like you need to choose now. I know you’re having pressure from your relatives in Norfair and in all honesty, you may have a better life the-”
“But I grew up here, with you!” Nasch froze, the sheer force in his voice was enough to even make him flinch. Though, to his relief, Vadlek didn’t seem phased by it.
It was at this time they were brought their drinks and Vadlek paid for both. Vadlek began to partake in his warm concoction of deep richness and beans of caffeine while Nasch just stared down at his.
A little sad smile curved over Nasch’s face and he looked at Vadlek. “You remembered?”
“Of course,” Vadlek replied, blowing on his drink a little, “I mean what else did you ever order besides coffee with sitrus and fructose mixture. Only you, Nasch, would drink something so silly.” The two laughed once more. As Nasch started on his drink, Vadlek’s eyes widened. “Oh my,” he exclaimed suddenly.
“What?” The suddenness and sheer shock on Vadleck’s face even caused Nasch to feel something was off.
“I completely forgot.”
Vadlek began reaching into a pack he had brought, leaving Nasch alone with his thoughts. Forgot? He never forgets. Oh no, what if he’s sick? Or, or, what if something is wrong. Oh no, don’t tell me he has to go away for the lights of winter. Oh, Arceus please no! He was interrupted from his thoughts as Vadlek held out a little box to him. “Huh?” Nasch just stared at it, taking a while to even process what it was.
Vadlek allowed Nasch to take his time, chuckling to himself at how long it took to click. “A gift for the new year. I never got to give it to you since you were in Norfair at the time.”
Nasch accepted it and looked at the box. He couldn’t seem to muster the will to open it. Wiping his eyes a little, a few sniffles escaped his lips. “Vadlek,” he said amid what felt like a cracking voice, “Thank you. You’re so good to someone silly like me.”
“Someone silly? Heh,” Vadlek began to drink his coffee, while Nasch gave him a miffed looked. “Well, open it and see how silly I think you are.”
With a request like that, Nasch couldn’t hold back any longer. In no time at all, he had torn the ribbon off, too excited to even catch it from falling down to their feet, and had taken off the lid. His eyes froze at the sight. In there he saw what looked like a pipe, not a basic looking one, but one with some gold interspaced in its design and the words, ‘Maximum Taste in every puff.’ Nasch set the lid down and held it up near his face to get a good look at it. For a while, he was just speechless, stuck admiring the pipe like a child admires a new toy.
“So tell me, Nasch, how silly are you to me?” Vadlek grinned as Nasch looked at him.
“Did…did you have thi-?”
“Made, yes,” Vadlek replied setting down his cup. He leaned in forwards and tapped on the pipe. “Growing up with you has taught me a lot about who an individual is. In fact, I wouldn’t mind calling you the brother I never had.”
The words seemed to pierce Nasch’s heart in the most positive way possible. A few happy tears escaped his eyes as he hugged Vadlek repeating words of gratitude over and over and over, to the point even Vadlek was starting to feel a little awkward.
- - -
“Isn’t it nice out here?” Nasch queried with a little twirl in the light snow. “I love Sorphian winter, it’s so…magical in how soft the snow comes down.” Nasch gave a few more twirls, causing his scarf to spin right onto his face.
“Heh, well not every snow,” Vadlek corrected, flicking some snowflakes off his scarf as Nasch fixed his own around the neck. “But they say the snow at this time in North Tower City is very quaint and lovely.”
Nasch looked at the snow all around, the emura lights flicking in their spots for lighting. He looked at Vadlek and a mischievous grin crossed his face. “Say Vadlek,” he asked with a subtle grin.
“Yes?” No reply came, just Nasch rushing off holding something in his hand. It took Vadlek a second to realize that Nasch had just snatched his scarf.
“Catch me and get your scarf back!” he shouted as he rushed down for the corner.
“Nasch!” Vadlek roared as he sprinted off after his laughing friend.
The chase went through a few dimly lit and near-empty streets, with Vadlek occasionally getting so close to catching Nasch yet failing to nab him due to some maneuver or bad timing. Suddenly, Nasch darted into the open field area in front of the very tall North Tower; Vadlek rushed in after him. This was the time to catch. Vadlek pushed forward with all he could and finally manage to pounce upon Nasch, tackling him into the snow in front of the view of the tower. They started wrestling, smiles, and laughter on their faces.
Finally, it was over. Nasch’s exhausted pants from his tired smile, staring up to a similar Vadlek, the victor. “Why can’t I beat you?” Nasch jested, looked at the arms pinning his wrists to the snowy ground.
“Your taste in coffee.” Vadlek teased.
“Hey!” Nasch laughed as Vadlek got off of him and offered his hand. Nasch accepted it, but instead pulled Vadlek down into the snow and just lied down alongside his brother. “That’s for implying my taste in coffee is bad.”
Vadlek laughed as he rolled onto his back. “I suppose I had that coming.” The two just stared up at the dark cloudy sky, the image of over a thousand snowflakes falling down with only the light of the clock tower high above illuminating a good majority of them. They just stared up at it, in silence and with smiles.
“I’m glad you liked the pipe.”
Vadlek turned his head and Nasch did as well. “I really do. It’s Sorphian curve, right?”
“Of course,” Vadlek replied with a smirk. “Sorphian’s have the superior curve in their puffers.”
“You say that like you use one,” Nasch jabbed and the two looked back up at the sky. Nasch’s eyes slowly went from the energy and happiness they once had to the worry and concern for the future once more. Vadlek took notice of this, and got up as Nasch said, “Vadlek…I want…to stay here. Stay here in Sorphia. I grew up here, with you and the others in our barracks. I…” his eyes slowed moved along with his head to look at his right shoulder, where his crest resided. “I don’t want to go be with my Norfairion family. I don’t want to leave you.” The sad eyes of Nasch looked at Vadlek, who returned a strong yet understanding gaze.
“Nasch,” he said putting his arm on Nasch’s right shoulder and looked up at the clock tower. “You’re a good person. Growing up with you has been a great time in my life. I know that you want to stay here in Sorphia and well you have a lot of reasons to. But,” he turned his head to Nasch, “I don’t want you to forget that this,” he tapped the crests for emphasis, “Is part of who you are too. You have family back there…and you can do so much good where you are better accepted. Not just seen for that mark you have.” Vadlek looked up at the tower and a small smile crept on his face. “You’re strong Nasch…strong enough to make the choices I have worked to build mine on. One day, maybe our kinds will go to war…it’s why they need those of us that grew up together to put the world back into place.”
Nasch sat up and looked at Vadlek. “So…you want me to go?”
“I never want you to leave,” Vadlek gave him a sincere looked, with probably one of the most emotional faces Nasch had ever seen from him. “You’re my brother, Nasch. That will never change. I know that…if I fail, in our worlds making amends…you will succeed.”
“You won’t fail,” Nasch argued. “You’re strong Nasch, you’ll do great. Who knows, you might even make ‘Sorphian Sun’.”
“Your words touch my heart.” Vadlek gently grabbed Nasch’s hand and moved it to his chest, right over where his heart was. “You’ll always have a place to stay in the winter here.”
Nasch smiled. “Heh, and you’ll always have someone to drag you into the snow right here,” he exclaimed, patting his own chest with a hefty smack.
Vadlek giggled at this and let go of his grip. He stood up and brushed himself off and Nasch did the same. “So, shall we head back to the barracks?”
“Sure,” Nasch said with a nod, “I’m in the mood for a nice warm bath.”
“Bath?” Vadlek replied with a raise of his brow, “You call that pond a bath?”
“Oh come on, they didn’t change it?” Nasch said in a disappointed tone and a moan. Vadlek roared in laughter and Nasch followed along. The two threw their arms over each other’s shoulders and headed back to the street, leaving the shadow of the Tower and two long snow spots right next to each other.
“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”
You get one point from me for each Nido this story features.
It's good to see some new content, and this one is extra new for me because I never got to get invested enough in Shattered Crests' verse (how are you going to call it?) before the thread changed and I decided to start anew, but this allows me to look at this story as an extra hook to allow me to catch up.
(Sick thing: I still think "Metroid" every time your characters mention anything Norfairian; extra noticeable here)
Reading these kinds of stories gets weird sometimes because I expect Pokémon to behave in a much different manner, or at least to have an immediate impact on their surroundings that is more noticeable than what we see here. The imagery of a Nidoking charging across the streets to not get late, for example, is slightly immersion breaking for me because everything else not Nidoking-shaped is not thrown and scattered in random directions (I'm srprised they don't hit anyone with their tails, but I do partly attribute that to the cold of the winter); similarly, I feel like Nasch's looking at the gift pipe and more or less leaving at that feels too... mere for a ground-type, one who I feel would derive more emotional responses from the ability to touch and test against their hide; but then again, this is a gift pipe and apparently a very good quality at that.
The story in itself made for good character interaction that without requiring extensive knowledge about the characters, seems to introduce them and define them well and leave the invitations to invest more in order (tho I still think the children in the opening characters of Shattered Crests make for a more relatable cast). Although admittedly it leaves me more interested in potentially seeing younger, less evolved versions of these two characters given what you have described in the writing channel of your setting's processing of ages and maturities.
I'm personally staying for this quote that I found seemed to carry most of the emotion in the conversation Vadlek and Nasch had:
"You’re a good person. Growing up with you has been a great time in my life. I know that you want to stay here in Sorphia and well you have a lot of reasons to. But,” he [Vadlek] turned his head to Nasch, “I don’t want you to forget that this,” he tapped the crests for emphasis, “Is part of who you are too. You have family back there…and you can do so much good where you are better accepted. Not just seen for that mark you have.”
I feel this worked pretty well for having the characters show a struggle that would hae otherwise have to be told; it helps concisely set this little story in the same world, with the same overall opportunities and risks, as Shattered Crests' certainly. I do feel it comes a bit at the expense of having the characters not face some sort of personal change during the story, unless I'm missing out on some context due to not having caught up to SC.
Overall, a nice read with a double dose of Nidos. Where are the females tho.