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Knowing and Understanding

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Maxie had always known that May Maple had calmed Groudon down. He’d been there; he’d seen it! He’d been… more or less present, at any rate. Granted, he’d been unable to follow her into the Cave of Origins, but he’d been just outside, in the harsh, scorching sunlight. He’d also been ‘present’ (using the word quite loosely), through the microphone earpiece that her Magma Suit had possessed, guiding her through part of her journey within.

He’d also been there when she’d walked out of that Cave, looking tired, and a little worse for wear but ultimately safe, unharmed and sporting the brightest smile he’d ever seen anyone wear. Almost as if she’d just gone through one of the greatest moments of her life, which was quite unlike he’d been inclined to feel at that moment. Frankly speaking, he’d been terrified; though shame did not linger far behind the former sentiment, granted.

Despite the juxtaposition of how he felt versus what she looked like, he’d still done his part; he’d apologized, thanked her and handed her the red orb he’d used to foolishly awaken the ancient pokemon, promising himself change and at least… some sort of attempt at redemption.

Maxie had known all these things. But knowing and understanding were two different things, as he soon enough realized later on.

After the fiasco with his keystone, probably mostly due to the fact he’d still been reeling over the fact she’d actually given it back to him, rather than taking it and keeping it well away from his hands… the former evil-gang leader had extended her an offer to stay at their probably-no-longer-entirely-secret-base whenever and however long she wanted to. Offer which, let’s face it, he’d actually been expecting her to never actually accept or make use of. Oh, he’d expected a smile from her, a nod even, because May was nice, polite even, but he’d never actually expected her to take him up on his word and show up on a rather frequent basis.

Needless to say… he’d gotten used to it over time. Everyone had; she was a cheerful spirit, and often came with stories or adventures and a sweet smile, as if she didn’t care about the fact he’d almost (albeit accidentally) destroyed the whole of the Hoenn Region, not to mention possibly the world, too.

It would have been hard not to grow used to it.

Due to this, he often time found himself quietly working on his new calculations while she lounged on his sofa, tending to his Camerupt’s apparently growing need for attention by brushing it’s fur. The silence was usually comfortable, and sometimes interrupted by a short session of stories or questions and answers to and fro; it was… nice. And while he wasn’t used to ‘nice’, he’d quickly grown used to that as well.

The comfort of those sessions slowly opened him up more to talking, which was how he’d first brought up the issue; he’d found himself asking her how she thought Groudon was doing, after all this time.

She’d stopped her brushing (eliciting a soft whine from the Camerupt, who swiftly moved his head to nudge her quite insistently - he was still there, and still demanded attention!) and turned to look at him, and he vividly remembered the look of utter confusion on her face before she’d let him know that Groudon was ‘fine’.

Despite the curiosity her reaction had elicited (not to mention the general conviction in her voice when she’d answered), Maxie had let the issue slip away, unsure if he really wanted to pursue or not. However, days later, he’d brought the topic up again; this time, he’d made some sort of joke (or rather, a rather lacking attempt at one) about how he was quite certain that Groudon was partial to spicy, hot food.

This time, she’d snorted at him, albeit not unkindly, and had proceeded to tell him that no, Groudon did not only not prefer spicy food, but rather, he had an extremely sweet tooth and much preferred sweet things over the former.

Once again, her conviction had nearly made him falter (he’d almost managed to trip over himself due to them walking down a hallway at the time of the conversation). This time, however, his curiosity was well and truly roused, so Maxie found himself thinking that fine, he’d finally bite and take the bait.

As such, he’d found himself asking her how on earth she knew such a fact, and her next answer was even more confusing than her previous one; the girl blinked, looked up at him, looking slightly bewildered, and then proceeded to tell him she’d found this all out through trial and error, of course.

Of course.

Because obviously nothing about that notion was odd or out of place. Of course. Thrown for a loop (yet again; a second time in so many minutes at that), Maxie had found himself opening his mouth and noting that no intelligent retort came forth to such a statement. Closing his mouth while taking a moment to slide his glasses back up the ridge of his nose, he looked down at the girl and tried his best NOT to imagine a scenario where she’d spent the majority of her ‘epic battle’ down in the Cave of Origins feeding the ancient pokemon a million pokepuffs.

He was trying… and gloriously failing though.

The other scenario that kept jumping to mind was the idea of May slipping off every day to visit the large, ancient beast in it’s dwelling, each time bringing with her more food than the first. Like a child slipping off to feed a puppy they kept in secret in the forest, away from their parents’ prying eyes.

He wasn’t sure which possibility was more absurd, the former or the later. Thankfully though, May must have noticed his poor brain pulling some sort of blue screen on him, because she silently took his arm and pulled him forward, resuming their walk down the hallway until they reached that rather large (and rather deserted at the moment), common room.

Letting go of his arm, she said something along the lines of, “Here, I’ll show you,” and then she unhooked one of the pokeballs, which she kept attached to her belt; a Duskball, if he wasn’t mistaken. She opened the ball, and swiftly released the creature held within, which slowly formed out of the red light contained within the ball itself.

The creature’s formation did absolutely nothing to help his rebooting brain, which promptly proceeded to crash yet again as the large, hulking form of Groudon materialized right there, in the middle of the Team Magma common room. Maxie was sure his thought process at the time went something along the lines of; Oh SHIT! > Wait what? Explain! > Answers? > PLEASE??

Gaping like a fish out of water, he watched as the creature roared upon release and then, after sparing him a very brief glance, turned all of it’s attention down at May. He’d had half a mind of grabbing the girl’s arm and pulling her behind him, willing to finally right his wrongs and somehow offer himself to appease the beast when his brain slowly… agonizingly slowly started to connect all the dots.

Or at least some of the dots, anyhow. The first thing he realized was the nightmare of a beast had come out ofMay’s pokeball. The second thing he noticed was that it was currently lowering his huge head and somehow managing to nuzzle against the girl’s chest with extreme care. The third thing he noticed was that he was still gaping, and thus, took a moment to compose himself as best he could.

By the time he’d managed to rein some semblance of order upon his panicking mind however, the large creature turned away from May and slowly made its way to him instead. Rooted to the spot, Maxie watched as it sniffed his hair and then lowered its head to put them both at eye level; it was from this position that he was able to count the creature’s many jagged, huge teeth (all of which would have put Archie’s Sharpedo in its mega form to shame).

When the creature moved forth, Maxie had closed his eyes tight, waiting…waiting… until he suddenly felt not pain, but a slight nudge around his midsection. Upon opening his eyes, he found the large, intimidating Groudon, the pokemon of legend… snuffling around his pockets, nudging here and there as it searched his person, “W-what is it doing?” he heard his voice crack, falter even as he spoke.

"I think… he thinks you might have a pokepuff. He wants you to feed it to him."

And so, Maxie stood bewildered in the middle of his common room, feeding a small pokepuff to the great creature of legends that formed the land of Hoenn.

It was only then that he came to realize that May hadn’t only just calmed down Groudon; she’d tamed him. And if she’d pulled such a feat within such short amount of time within the Cave of Origins on such a noble, intimidating beast… what chances did he stand against her, anyhow?