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Redemption

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Trainers were lucky if a partner died, she was told, it meant they had such a long time with a Pokémon. Tsubaki found Fiala in Pinwheel Forest. Bug-types died early anyway, she was also told, he lived a long enough life.

Long enough.

Long enough?

Long enough for what?

From Sewaddle to Leavanny, even a century with Fiala would not be enough.

Travelling Unova was fun. When Fiala died, she knew what she had to do. The spiral at the end of Route 7 was her destination. She was used to the hike, but normally... Fiala would be with her. It was lonely by herself, but it gave her time to mourn. Time to think.

The tower had a friendly air. She felt welcome, away from the harsh chill outside. She pulled a candle out her bag and lit it. The flame flickered as Litwick cooed from behind graves.

“I’m sorry,” Tsubaki began, needing to say something, needing noise to fill the void.

“I thought― I didn’t mean―” Her voice cracked like a stone quarry. She spoke in hushed tones, scared the walls would whisper back her secrets. “The lunar wing. I got a lunar wing for you.” She put a feather on her friend’s grave. “It only helps humans. I didn’t know. I thought, y’know, you’d be fine, but...” She wiped her face on a sleeve. She scrubbed her face and looked at the ceiling. “You can’t hear me. This is stupid. When you were sleeping you could hear me. Now, you can’t. This is stupid.”

Elgyem beeped in encouragement. Tsubaki rolled her neck and collected her thoughts. She needed to say this out loud. “Remember when we first saw Castelia? You were so excited you knocked me right over in the middle of the street. You did this― this lil’ dance, this jig, every time you got excited.”

She stood, mourning her Pokémon, her partner, her friend; until the candle had left a stump of wax and the sun was at the other end of the sky.

Cleansed, she slung her bag back on and started to leave. She tripped, her nose smashed into the floor. Wiping blood from her face, a hollow, warm presence huddled her legs. It was a damn Litwick that tripped her.

She thought she was done crying, but memories of Fiala surfaced once again, and tears soaked her face more than blood. The Candle Pokémon nuzzled her just like her fallen friend. No one else was around, the only witness to her humiliation was the cooing psychopomp. She stomped to the stairs only to trip again. She caught herself on a grave and spat blood near her boot. Damn Litwick was still clinging. She shook her leg but it wouldn’t budge.

“What do you want?” she cried, red snot streaming from her nose.

“Loo woo,” the candle said happily.

Each Ghost Pokémon was different. Some say they burn, some say they freeze, but Litwick did neither. It was just there, touching her leg, hugging like a child with abandonment issues.

“What do you want?” she said again, as if the Pokémon would or could answer differently.

“Loo woo,” was its response again.

So, she sat on the floor, snot smeared over her sleeves, hugging a wild Pokémon. It pressed close, and she felt warmth; not the heat of its flames, but warmth of love. Fire-types were no longer a threat. Tsubaki didn’t have a quadruple weakness to heat.

Picnics with Fiala in winter taught her how to keep warm. Decomposing leaves radiated heat. The energy Fiala gave her let her start fires.

“Fiala?” she said with disbelief. “Is that you?”

“Woo woo loo.” Litwick bent itself in half nodding so hard.

She sobbed twice as hard, this time with joy, and didn’t bother wiping her face as it dripped on the Pokémon.

Tsubaki had accepted losing her precious Pokémon, only to gain it again, in another form. Stories of humans incarnated as Yamask circulated her childhood. She never expected it to be true.

The Candle tottered and beckoned. Mentally, she was more than able to follow her old friend. Physically, each step was an agonizing release of energy. Her frail legs were determined to meet the Pokemon. The Candle stopped near the stairs up. She fell to her knees, palms scraping on stone. The Candle flickered, its entire body, not just the wick, and she cried out. It took her hand, and she was content. No more worrying over energy. No more pain. On the horizon a slender leaf stood. So the Ghost wasn’t her partner. She was grateful it brought her to see him. Now they could spend together forever.