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"Fancy meeting you here," Suga calls to him. He remains where he is, though, grinning from his seat on the low decorative wall, his legs swinging.

Daichi stops in the middle of the path and begins to laugh. Both his arms and the arms of his medicham are full of suitcases.

"I should have known you'd beat me up here," he says.

Suga shrugs, gesturing at the crobat that's doing lazy loops above their heads. "I keep telling you, it beats any type of ground transportation," he says. "You should take another ride with me sometime."

"After the last time? No way." Daichi shakes his head, remembering the dizzying rush of air surrounding him on every side, the only point of warmth the place where he clutched at Suga's waist. His thighs ached for days afterward from the strain of staying in place on a pokemon's back. "Where's your stuff, anyway?"

"I've never had much stuff," Suga replies with a shrug. "I like traveling light."

"Uh huh," Daichi says. "You're just getting all of it later, aren't you."

Suga smiles again, so widely this time that his cheeks dimple. He always gets dimples when Daichi catches him—catches up, catches him out, it's all the same in the end, really. Suga is always one step ahead, one gym ahead, one type advantage ahead, always keeping Daichi on his toes.

He can't imagine what his life would be like without his rival in it.

"I kind of feel like I should battle you again," Suga muses as he hops down from the low wall and strides forward. "I mean, I was lying in wait here and everything."

"I can't really reach my poké balls right now," Daichi points out. Suga hums as he stands in front of Daichi, eyeing the bags in his arms.

"That means you can't stop me from getting to Indigo Plateau first, right?" he says. "You couldn't stop me from doing whatever I wanted to right now. I could just run inside and lock you out."

"I wouldn't go that far," Daichi says, but Suga is already leaning forward, his eyes fixed upon Daichi's, a faint blush rising to his face.

"Would you stop me from doing this?" Suga murmurs. Then he's kissing Daichi right in front of the Indigo Plateau gates. Daichi stiffens, suddenly aware of the security cameras that are definitely around somewhere. This isn't exactly how he wanted to make his introduction to the security guards, or whoever's watching that feed—

Suga has the audacity to slip him some tongue. Daichi makes a garbled sound of protest.

Suga leans back, laughing again, and brushes his fingers through Daichi's hair, playing at straightening it. His cheeks are bright red now and his eyes are shining. "I'm glad they invited both of us," he says. "It wouldn't be right without you."

"I was just thinking the same thing," Daichi says. Suga reaches out to take some of the suitcases and Daichi lets him, thankful for the help. "Watch out, though, you're not gonna be ahead of me in the ranking for long."

"Sounds like something the second-best elite four member would say," Suga says. The muscles in his slim arms bunch up as he levers the suitcases into a better hold, and Daichi tries not to stare. "Oh, I didn't think this through...Medicham, can you open the door?"

Medicham inclines its head, glancing at its trainer, and Daichi nods. Only then does it narrow its eyes, leveraging its psychic abilities to push the massive doors open.

For a moment, they both stare at the yawning, shadowy hall that lies just beyond the doorway. Daichi remembers all over again how it felt when he first challenged the elite four: the thrill of excitement and stage fright that had swept over him as he watched these same doors open. It's a little different now—he's going to live here, after all—but it's similar too, because he's got his pokémon and Suga, the two constants he always builds upon.

Crobat swoops inside once there's enough room, her cheerful cry echoing out of the hall beyond the door as one by one, the wall torches alight.

"After you," Daichi says.

"You know what?" Suga says. "Let's do this one together."