A Ripple in Time @teamcap
16: Alternate Ending I, Part 3 of 3

Last part of the FIRST alternate ending, haha,,,

Anyway, thank you to all who commented and don't worry, this entire alternate ending is just tying up the loose ends and to show Ruby and Sapphire's character development. But the next alternate endings will have pain, maybe, who knows, maybe a lot, maybe a little, we'll see :'D


Chapter 16- Alternate Ending I: Road to Recovery

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"Dad!" Sapphire called the moment she entered her father's laboratory with Ruby trailing behind her.

To save time, they decided to let Ruru teleport them back to Littleroot Town. As soon as they arrived, Sapphire uttered that she wanted to see her father. Ruby understood what she meant; it was agonizing and traumatizing to see Professor Birch die in front of them in that alternate timeline, and knowing that he was alive in their own reality was enough to convince Sapphire to immediately pay him a visit.

Sapphire did tell him to visit his parents as well, but knowing his father's schedule, he wasn't home yet so Ruby couldn't check on him.

"Maybe later," he replied, making his girlfriend wonder. She tilted her head with her eyebrows furrowed. He chuckled at her cute reaction. "I mean, my dad is probably at the gym. Let's visit him later."

She agreed with their plan and once they settled in, she didn't waste time and dashed off to her father's workplace.

Professor Birch snapped out of his trance and swivelled his rolling chair to face his daughter. His face fell into deep surprise when Sapphire tackled him for a hug. His back hit his desk, but he didn't mind; he was used to his daughter's immense strength, but it did still hurt.

"Dad!" the brunette cried, embracing him tighter. She sniffled. "Yer okay..."

The scientist had no idea why she was suddenly crying. He looked at Ruby to ask him for answers, but the boy only smiled with tears welling up from his eyes. His eyebrows creased. What was going on?

"H-Hey, kiddo," he gently patted his daughter's hair before stroking it. "Of course, I'm okay. I'm just working on a field report."

Sapphire removed herself from the bear hug and took a step back, standing next to her boyfriend. She wiped the tears off her eyes.

Ruby looked at her. "Everything alright?" he asked with a concerned expression.

She just patted his chest and smiled. "Yeah."

"That's good," he responded, trying to control himself from worrying further. He wasn't really comfortable in showing one hundred percent (or more) of his love and affection yet, but he was doing everything he could to change that. However, it was embarrassing to do in front of his girlfriend's dad. Professor Birch may not be as strict as his father, but he had to reduce it by a bit.

"I'm surprised to see you kids," Professor Birch stated, breaking the ice. Ruby and Sapphire broke their gaze at each other and looked at the scientist. "What brings you two here? I thought you were in Lilycove or something."

"Ah," the Conqueror waved her hand. "I'm just checkin' on ya, dad. I-If yer still busy, we can talk more later at dinner!"

The older man scratched his head, chuckling "Alright, if you say so. Have fun, you two, but not too much fun, of course!"

Sapphire gulped and spun around, grabbing Ruby's hand whilst the Charmer just coughed, in hopes to hide the heat growing in his cheeks. The professor did not need to state that, and why was he even overreacting with this?

His thoughts halted when Sapphire stopped in her tracks. Curious, he opted to ask her why but realized when he felt the cool ocean breeze hitting his face.

It was enough to crack a smile on his lips.

"Our favourite spot," he said, watching her sit and lean her back on the boulder. He followed and seated beside her with one arm draping around her shoulders and his back resting on the gigantic rock behind them. His eyes inspected the cloudy skies, the flocks of Wingull flying on the horizon, and the blue ocean water from afar.

He was still having a hard time believing that they were finally home—to their real and proper home. He never lost her, they didn't fail their mission; everything was back the way it was.

Well, maybe not everything. He was determined to improve himself and his relationship with his amazing girlfriend.

"I felt like goin' here since we came home," Sapphire spoke after a moment of silence.

"Mmm?" he hummed, breaking his gaze from the gorgeous natural view in front of him to lay his eyes on her. "What do you mean?"

She didn't look at him; her eyes were too fixed at the ocean. She exhaled. A small smile crept on her lips after that. "I'm still havin' a hard time believin' that we're finally home. The moment I saw my dad and my master die in front of me, I felt like I lost everythin'. I..." she gulped, hoping she didn't sound too depressed. They did have a similar topic earlier. "I thought I couldn't go any further when they died, but when I felt yer arms around me, I felt like...I still had a chance to do somethin' better."

Her serious expression changed to a blissful one, and Ruby knew it was her way of lifting up the mood. Though, he wished she didn't need to pretend she wasn't hurt. She could show her weakness and vulnerability around him, and he wouldn't mind it. "It's really weird," she chortled, looking at him, and tucked a loose hair behind her ear. He just shook his head.

"It's not. Don't worry," he reached for her hand, linking it with his. He pressed his lips on it. "It's okay to feel like that and honestly, I feel the same too. The sky in that time used to be cloudless, and the heat was unbearable, and..." he bit lip, before scooting closer to her. "Feeling the cool breeze now almost made me believe that this is a dream. We saved the world more than once, but the causes of those chaotic events weren't our fault; it was theirs. A-And, " he chocked, breathing in. "when we experienced a crumbled world that I created, I felt responsible and I thought of doing things on my own again because everything was my fault."

He felt their clasped hand tightened. He turned at her to look deeply into her ocean-blue eyes. The emotions she was conveying were ambiguous, but he could perfectly see her love and empathy in it.

It was more than enough to make him tear up. No matter how many times he screwed up, Sapphire would always do her best to understand him. He didn't deserve her, yet at the same time, he didn't want to lose her.

And he was willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.

"I guess...it'll take a while for us to get used to this, huh?"

He slowly bobbed his head. The time didn't matter. As long as he's with her, he knew everything would be alright despite how rough their situation could be. "Yeah."

Later that night

Ruby creased his eyebrows, tossing his Pokegear on the bed. He went to his window and leaned his forehead against it. After a few moments, he sighed and let out a loud grumble. He closed his eyes.

He forgot that he had to deal with his co-Pokedex Holder, Crystal, once they fixed the timeline. She called him earlier, demanding where he had been when she left him alone to talk to Silver on the phone. He didn't know whether or not he should tell her about his and Sapphire's adventures in that alternate timeline, but he hated the fact that she was insisting on meeting up with him in Slateport tomorrow.

If that wasn't enough to stress him out, he also received a text message from Lisia, saying that he needed to host tomorrow's contest for she would be busy with her uncle.

He didn't know which should he do first tomorrow. His job in the contest community was important and he loved his job. Yet at the same time, he owed Crystal for helping him find Celebi. He opened his eyes, looking through the window. A certain window from his neighbor's house caught his attention. He bit his lip.

He had an idea.

"Sapphire!" Ruby quietly whispered. He grabbed a pebble from the ground and gave it to Ruru.

Ruru used her psychic powers to make the small rock float in the air. She lifted it higher and higher until it reached the window of Sapphire's room. She looked at her trainer, asking for his consent and with a smile and a nod, Ruru inhaled. She gently tapped the window using the pebble.

Ruby averted his eyes from the Gardevoir to look at the window. A few minutes passed, no one was answering. He could only guess that Sapphire was in deep sleep. As he was about to tell Ruru to stop, the window slid open, revealing Sapphire. She was wearing a baggy t-shirt and her eyes were droopy, but Ruby thought she looked absolutely adorable.

"Ruby?" Sapphire whispered, half-asleep whilst rubbing her eyes. "What're ya doin' here? What's goin' on?"

He smiled. She looked so beautiful. "Can I come in? I'll tell Ruru to teleport me there."

She sighed. She didn't know what was going on, but if it meant she could help him, then so be it. "Alright," she replied, closing the window.

Ruby chuckled. Looking at her was enough to lessen his fatigue. He exhaled and looked at Ruru. "Ruru, teleport me inside Sapphire's room."

With a nod, the Psychic-Fairy type activated her psychic powers and teleported herself and her trainer into the Conqueror's room. Once they arrived, Ruby thanked the Gardevoir and returned her into her Poke Ball. He placed the ball back in his pocket and turned at Sapphire.

His eyes widened when he saw her concerned expression. Did she know that he was stressed? He ran a hand through his hair. "Sapph, I—"

"Ruby," she interrupted. "It's midnight. What's wrong?"

He stopped, eyes widening even further. She could definitely read him like a book. He sighed and sat on her bed. He patted an empty space next to him while she followed. For the first time since this night, he finally lost himself into her deep, ocean-blue eyes. His breath hitched, but he swallowed the lump in his throat to make himself breathe again. He opened his mouth and released a sigh. He coughed.

"I'm...just stressed," he started, his eyes avoiding hers. He didn't want to worry her even further.

"About what?" she asked, her hand reached for his shoulders. Her fingers brushed the fabric of his shirt, and it was enough to send shivers throughout his spine. Her touch felt like magic that could cure anything that was making him anxious.

He released a breath. "Crystal called me and demanded an explanation, but at the same time, I have to host tomorrow's contest."

She bit her lip, pausing to ponder about it. She was both happy and proud. She was glad that Ruby came to her when something was bothering him, and she was delighted that he continued to apply everything he had learned in the alternate future he caused. She knew this would last; she had faith in him. "Well," she started. "Maybe tell Crystal to meet up with ya once the contest is over? I know ya hafta deal with the press, but I can go there and take their attention for ya."

He raised an eyebrow. He looked at her with a worried expression. "But what about the Pokemon League?"

She smiled. "I can take care of it. I ain't called the Hoenn Champ for nothin'."

Her response was so amusing, so self-assured, and he was happy that she was able to say such a statement with such confidence. He was so proud of her. "Thank you, Sapph," His hand reached out for her, squeezing it. She squeezed his hand in return. "I owe you an ice cream."

She rolled her eyes, giggling. "Ya don't have to."

He pressed his soft lips on her hand. He smiled. "Ice cream isn't that expensive."

Ruby was elated. He was so blessed for having a supportive best friend and girlfriend. It made him wonder why he ever tried to hide his feelings from her in the first place, or why he ever fear they would hurt her. Being with Sapphire—being in love with Sapphire was something he would cherish for as long as he lived.

"We should get some rest."

Before Sapphire could reply, Ruby plopped himself on her bed, as if it was his own, and closed his eyes. Sapphire blushed at this, not knowing what to do, especially once they woke up in the morning.

Despite the mortification they received the next day, the rest of it was a success. Ruby managed to host the contest Lisia was supposed to host and they talked with Crystal. She seemed baffled at first, but eventually just accepted their story. They couldn't blame her, though; no one knew the world was in chaos except the two of them.

Three Weeks After

Fallarbor Town

1:00 PM

Ruby didn't understand why Sapphire decided to take him to Fallarbor Town on their day off. He tried asking her about it, but her response was just an adorable fanged smile. He had to confess that her smile wooed him and he wasn't ashamed of it. That was how irresistible his girlfriend was.

"Ruby," Sapphire called, nudging his belly. As usual, it made Ruby's face twist from both hurt and surprise, causing him to hold it. Her eyes widened, turning around to hold his shoulders. "H-Hey! I swear I didn't hit ya that hard!"

He coughed, placing his hands on her hips. He later buried his head in her chest, making her cheeks heat up. "I was just—"

"Ruby, what the heck!" She pushed him away and hopped off from the Tropius' back. The Charmer fell back with a small smirk hanging on his lips. Her reactions never ceased to amaze him.

"Come on, Ruby! Unless ya don't wanna go with me."

He snorted. "Alright," he sat up before jumping off from the Tropius to catch up to her. What astounded him most was the fact that she was on her way to the Poke Mart. Did they fly all the way from Littleroot to Fallarbor just to go to a Poke Mart? He thought she wanted to go fishing with him at the river. "Sapph," he called as they went inside the store. "Why are we—"

"Well, hello there, kiddos!" the store clerk beamed. He seemed to be a man who was much older than Ultima, judging from his white hair and chevron-styled moustache. He also had glasses that looked like a pair of shades from a distance. "Ah, I see we have ourselves a happy couple as customers," the man clasped his hands together and the couple approached him with a pink hue painted on their cheeks. "Now, what can I do for you?"

"H-Heya, mister!" the Hoenn Champion exclaimed. "I'll be buyin' five Quick Balls, please!"

"Comin' right up, sweetie," the old man winked then chuckled, before grabbing the balls from its container.

In the meantime, the brunette grabbed some cash from her wallet and placed it on the counter with Ruby observing everything. He was now starting to understand why she went all the way here. He heard that Quick Balls were only sold in this town, after all, but why did she need it? Was she going to teach another young trainer how to catch a Pokemon?

"That'll be five thousand yen, my dear."

"Keep the change!" she replied cheerfully and grabbed the five balls from the counter, before placing them in her fanny pack. She spun around to face Ruby. "Ya okay?"

Ruby arched an eyebrow. "Y-Yeah, I'm okay. It just makes sense why we traveled all the way here. But really, what are those for?"

The same endearing expression she returned, and Ruby swore it was getting more attractive every single day. (Of course, she is also getting more gorgeous daily too.)

"Ya'll see."

He supposed he could let that response slip by; her smile was so intoxicating that he couldn't help but smile as well.

Meteor Falls

1:15 PM

Ruby's eyes went as large as a dinner plate. His right foot took a step back as his arms trembled with fear. He couldn't believe what he was looking at.

What lies in front of him and Sapphire was none other than that red-winged, blue-skinned behemoth that scarred them for life. He was starting to wonder who the hell asked Sapphire to catch this...cursed Pokemon? They were definitely going to feel his wrath.

It wasn't that he didn't trust Sapphire, but really, she was still healing and sudden things like facing a random, powerful Pokemon like this...creature in the wild could be too much. Every Pokemon is different, and this monster definitely was not like Zinnia's.

"S-Sapphire," he called, his voice shaky and dry, "why is there a Salamence in front of us?"

To his immense astonishment, she turned to look at him with a grin. Why on earth was she smiling while he was here shaking anxiously?

"I'm sorry for not tellin' ya, Ruby, I just wanna surprise ya!" she bit her lip, as a comically large bead of sweat dripped from her left temple. "Though, it's not exactly what I'm expectin'."

"Sapph, why did you agree to catch that thing to whoever told you to catch it?"

"Ruby," she took a deep breath and gripped Chamo's Poke Ball. "No one asked me to do this; I wanna catch this Pokemon myself."

Ruby was speechless, dumbfounded, and terrified that Sapphire decided to catch a Salamence out of the blue. Not a Bagon. Not a Sheldon. But a freaking Salamence.

"I wanna heal from that incident, and I can't just rely on Zinnia to help me get rid of it. I wanna help myself as well."

His petrified sensation vanished the moment he heard those words from her. He thought her nobility and incredibility as a person increased tenfold because of this; he couldn't be more proud.

He took a deep breath, before releasing it. He smiled. "Then I'll support you," he placed a hand on her shoulder, squeezing it. He pecked her cheek then took a step back. "You got this! I believe in you!"

His words were enough to make her more determined.

Nodding her head, Sapphire gripped Chamo's Poke Ball before throwing it, sending the bipedal chicken-like creature out in the process. "Chamo!" she called and the Blaziken's eyes turned to her trainer. "Catch that Salamence's attention! Use Flamethrower!"

Ruby's shocked expression returned. Didn't she just buy five Quick Balls earlier? "Wait, Sapph, how about—"

The flames on the Blaziken's wrists burst ablaze. The Fire-Fighting type jumped as high she could, opening her mouth to release a breath of flames at the Salamence.

The attack left a scratch on the Dragon-Flying type's skin, but it was enough to catch his attention. His eyes shone for a glare while searching for the source of the fire.

"Over here!" Sapphire yelled, waving her arms in the air.

The Salamence gritted his teeth. Chamo landed and took a fighting stance. It provoked the Salamence, making it release a loud roar.

The two humans covered their ears. Chamo immediately returned to her Poke Ball and back to her trainer. She bit her lip. It was clever for that dragon Pokemon to use Roar. Now she had to find a way to catch him without switching her Pokemon whenever he used that move.

"Rono, go!" the Conqueror screamed. The giant steel-rock dinosaur popped out from his ball, landing on the ground with a fierce shake.

The Salamence's eyes widened at this, his instincts telling him that he was about to face a powerful foe.

"Yer not goin' anywhere!" she shouted at the Salamence. "Ya hear that, Mandero?!"

Ruby felt like his jaw dropped on the floor. Sapphire hadn't caught the colossal dragon yet, but she already had a nickname for it? He couldn't help but be confounded and awed at her endless willpower. She's one heck of a woman, and she's definitely his woman.

The Dragon-Flying type growled at the name and Sapphire's fingers just touched her keystone with a smirk plastered across her lips.

"Go! Mega Evolve, Rono!" the Mega Ring on her wrist shone with such striking light, illuminating Meteor Falls for a few moments and blinding everyone within their proximity.

Once the Salamence was able to see clearly, he blinked his eyes as his mouth opened widely. The female human was now on all fours—like him—and the Aggron she was with turned bigger. It now had four very long horns, and a more armoured-looking like and tough body. This screamed a challenge and he wasn't going to retreat from this one.

"Use Rock Slide!" she commanded and Rono's eyes sparkled at that.

The dragon Pokemon growled, his eyes shifting towards the ceiling, and saw stones of all shapes and sizes tumbling down. He let out another snarl. He shot past each and every falling rock. He stopped to smirk, satisfied that he managed to be quick enough to dodge it all.

He was celebrating a bit early, though, for another set of rocks fell from the sky and crashed down on his tail and wings. A roar escaped from him, his eyes tightening shut.

"Mandero's distracted!" she called. "Charge right at 'em with Iron Head!"

The Mega Aggron grumbled and puffed air out his nose. He moved his legs as fast as he could, before lowering his head and ramming the Salamence's neck, pain splintering across the dragon's throat. He couldn't breathe.

"Good job, Rono!"

The latter backed off, shaking his head. He heard voices, the sound of the wind, Pokemon lurking about, but all of it was vague. He couldn't hear a thing nor move his body, and the image of the Aggron in front of him was getting blurry too. He tried to fight back, but he was still recoiling from the damage he took.

He suddenly felt something round bump on his head. Once his vision cleared, the last thing he saw was the human and the Aggron getting bigger in front of him.

That's when he realized that he was trapped inside a Poke Ball.

He roared inside the uncomfortable gizmo, swinging from left to right, then right to left...

"Come on," Sapphire muttered then gulped. It only took two hits before she used a Poke Ball on that Salamence, but she had faith in Rono's strength that the moves he used were enough to weaken the dragon Pokemon.

The Poke Ball moved once. The Salamence struggled in it. Twice. He kept on moving, hoping to break free, while Sapphire was clenching her fists and Ruby crossing his fingers, both wishing for the opposite.

The ball popped open, revealing a pissed off Salamence. Ruby and Sapphire gritted their teeth.

The blue creature howled and charged through the Mega Aggron, his whole body surrounded with vicious energy, forming into a shape of a dragon. Sapphire's eyes widened at this, knowing what that deadly move was. She swung her arm to her left.

"Rono!" she called. "Use Metal Claw to get yerself outta there!"

The Salamence was too quick before Rono managed to bang his metallic claws on the ground. Rono yelped dreadfully, as the Salamence continued pushing him until they hit a nearby wall.

Rono tried to squirm his way out, but the Salamence's weight was too heavy for him.

"Rono, 'tis okay! Use Iron Head again to get outta there!"

The Salamence's jaw dropped. Before he could move away, a powerful steel-like headbutt smacked his face.

Sapphire saw this chance and threw another ball towards the Salamence. She knew she should've used those Quick Balls she bought instead of throwing herself and her team in a battle, but she felt like she must clash with it in order to prove her slow recovery.

The ball hit the Dragon-Flying type, before trapping it inside. It shook once. Twice. It then started to vibrate. Sapphire's heart pounded fast at this while Ruby just gulped and held his breath.

For what seemed like forever, the ball shook for the third time with a light blinking in the middle of it and a 'click' sound, signalling that the Pokemon was officially caught.

That noise felt like music to her ears, as a smile perked on her lips. "We got 'em!"

Ruby released the breath he was holding, a hand placed on his chest. His heart was pounding. He watched Sapphire approach the Poke Ball, grabbing it from the ground before petting Rono. Her smile converted into a grin and he couldn't help but be happy for her.

The current Hoenn Champion now officially had a team of six powerful Pokemon. He could imagine her future victories now that she had another Pokemon to help her defend her title. Nevertheless, he's full of pride that Sapphire still managed to become the Champion and defend her title with just five Pokemon in her team.

"Welcome to the team, Mandero!" Sapphire yelled triumphantly while holding the Poke Ball in her hands. She looked at Rono and petted it once again. "Ya did great, Rono!"

Rono let out a happy cry at that but stopped when he saw her frowning.

"Sapph, congrats!" Ruby praised while approaching her. He stopped when he noticed the mope expression on her face. "What's wrong?" he asked, his tone was unsettling, then placed a hand on her shoulder in hopes to comfort her.

She breathed, returning Rono in his Poke Ball. "I'm fine, but I think I went too far when battlin' Mandero."

He was confused. He tilted his head and furrowed his eyebrows. His expression was too cute for her to resist that a giggle escaped from her lips.

"I should've used those Quick Balls to catch 'em, but I felt like battlin' him, ya know?" she took a deep breath before continuing. "If I battled him then...this'll be a good start of me not actin' like a coward whenever I battle someone with a Salamence in their team."

He lowered his head, melancholy was slowly clouding his eyes. He knew her healing process would take some time since the wound they gained from that incident was deep, but he was proud that at least she was still taking the initiative to help herself heal from it. He now completely understood why she battled that Salamence instead of just instantly finishing it with a Quick Ball.

"Anyway," she gripped Mandero's Poke Ball and placed it in her bag. "I wanna meet Mandero already, so let's go to the Pokemon Center to heal 'em."

He chortled at that. "And here I thought you're gonna smell that behemoth in order to—"

Sapphire elbowed him in the chest. He swore he was just joking despite his arrogant tone. "...Sapph," he mumbled, his left eye was closed and his face twisted in pain. "Come on..."

She just rolled her eyes. "Ya know I dunno that Pokemon Centers existed until someone told me!"

"I know, I know!" he defended, removing his arm on his torso. "I was just kidding."

And Sapphire knew he was. Taking a deep breath, she lowered her head and fixed it on the ground, mumbling a 'sorry'. Ruby heard it, however, and he just laughed at that.

"Sapph, love, you just can't resist me!"

A vein popped on her forehead. She hated it whenever he said that, for she knew it was the truth. "Ya silly little—"

"I love you too, Sapphire," he intervened with a wink and she knew he just charmed her all the way through. She turned around with a huff, grabbing his hand and taking him to the Pokemon Center with her.

Route 114 River

2:00 PM

Sapphire inhaled the largest breath she could take, as her fingers wrapped around the Poke Ball in her hand. A cool breeze followed and tousled her hair and her clothes, letting it synchronize with the drift. A hand later held her shoulder, gripping it as gently as it could. She turned to her left and met Ruby's concerned eyes. She gave him a small smile, finally exhaling.

"You don't have to do this now if you don't want to," the Charmer mumbled to the Conqueror, giving her the same worried smile.

She shook her head. "If I don't start now, then when? There's no point of delayin'."

He bit his lip. She had a point, but whatever decision she would come up with, he would always be there to support her. "I understand, but I'm here for you," he removed his hand on her shoulder, proceeding to link her hand with his. Their fingers brushed for a moment, sending sparks bursting between them. Her hand never failed to feel like the missing puzzle to complete his, for the way their fingers interlock with each other was nothing but a flawless fit. "Always."

The curve on her lips widened. "I am as well."

Ruby leaned in and pecked her lips.

As much as he wanted to kiss her for more than a second, he felt like they shouldn't at a place like this. "I'm ready when you are."

She bobbed her head, then shifted her gaze at the Poke Ball in her to look at her new team member, Mandero the Salamence. The dragon Pokemon blinked, tilting his head while Sapphire cracked a smile. Clutching the ball, she threw it in the air with the Salamence popping out of it.

Mandero shook his head once he was out, before scrutinizing his surroundings. The same humans from earlier were standing in front of him, but this time, neither of them seemed hostile. In fact, they looked nervous, but why? Was he really that scary?

"H-Hey, Mandero," Sapphire choked, her feet were slowly moving forward.

Mandero had a confused look. What did she just call him?

"Yer part of the family now, and yer name is Mandero," she stopped a few feet away from him. Ruby squeezed her hand and she returned the gesture. She looked at him, giving a small grin before removing her hand around him. She gulped, taking another step closer. "My name is Sapphire, and this is Ruby. I'm yer new trainer if that's alright with ya."

The Salamence looked at Sapphire from head to toe. She may look too small for a human, but he could sense that she was a powerful one. Maybe this was his instincts telling him, but nonetheless, she was the one who invited him for a battle, and that took guts. His eyes stopped to meet hers, and he was stunned at how genuine and ecstatic she was despite her uneasy aura. He knew that this human was telling the truth just by looking into her eyes. He took a deep breath and let out a soft roar.

Ruby was alerted with that noise. He watched Sapphire, waiting for her signal just in case she needed his help, but as moments passed, it seemed like she didn't need it. He sighed, straightening his posture. Maybe she didn't need his help yet.

She gulped to quench her dry throat. If she wouldn't start now, then when? She had to do it now that she has a solid chance. Lifting her left palm, she moved another step closer to the Salamence. She breathed in. There was no turning back now.

She leisurely moved her hand closer. The wind continued blowing with her hair and her clothes swaying with it. The closer she gets, the more her heart kept on beating wildly.

She stopped, her hand shivering when she felt the Dragon-Flying type's scaly skin touching her own. She tried to be brave and let her palm stay there for a few moments. Her heart never stopped pumping fast.

Mandero let out a soft cry and moved his head closer, telling her to pet him.

She just chuckled at this. For a terrifying-looking Pokemon, Mandero had a soft side. She liked it.

"Welcome to the family, Mandero," she greeted with a tear falling from her eye. The Salamence roared triumphantly at this and grinned at his trainer. She kept on patting the dragon's head until his eyes widened in shock. She flinched at this, immediately removing her palm from the Salamence, and observed him.

Mandero rotated himself so that his back was facing his trainer, before lowering its body. He released a loud grumble.

She easily understood what her new Pokemon was trying to say. "Ya want us to ride on yer back?"

Mandero nodded happily.

She spun around to face Ruby. "What do ya think?"

Ruby exhaled deeply and instantly held her hand. She saw how pale he looked, but placing her hand on his cheek was enough to calm him down.

"I was worried what he's gonna do to you," he said, making Mandero huff.

She giggled. "Relax, Mandero. Ruby's just protective."

The Salamence cried again and Ruby just ignored him.

"I'm proud of you," Ruby said out of the blue.

Sapphire spun around, her fangs poking from her top lip. "Hmm?"

They were slightly reluctant when Mandero offered them to ride on his back, but Sapphire knew that she had to trust her Pokemon in order to build a good friendship with him.

After staring at him and patting Ruby's cheek to snap him out, they sat on his back and held on tight when Mandero took off from Route 114.

Flying on Mandero's back was similar to their flights with Troppy, but the only difference was the speed. The Dragon-Flying type was soaring quickly in the sky, but Sapphire didn't mind; she loved it when the wind met her face. This was the closest she could get when it comes to flying like a real superhuman. Ruby, on the other hand, was jumpy at the flight's speed but he finally remained calm when Sapphire told Mandero to slow down for a bit.

Now, they were peacefully travelling in the sky with his arms wrapped around her waist for a hug. Ruby was starting to like this; he got to hold her closer and make sure she's safe in his arms.

"I'm happy and proud that you're helping yourself to recover," he stated, but his smile fell when a certain memory drifted in his mind. "I'm sorry about what I did three weeks ago. I should've known that going back in time would just ruin things."

Sapphire bit her lip. She squeezed his arm. "We talked about this; it's okay. But...ya know, you're slowly learning from yer mistakes, Ruby."

He perked up. Was he? He never noticed.

"You're more open when somethin's botherin' ya. Remember when you were stressed weeks ago? I was surprised that you came to my room at midnight just to tell me what's buggin' ya. I know that I may not be able to help sometimes, but I'm really glad you're making me feel like ya trust me. And...yer trust is enough."

He lowered his head, chewing his lower lip. He loved her, but he was bad at showing it, and one of the important factors in any relationship was trust. He failed to show that to her, but he's doing his best to assure her that he does trust her. He was relieved that she noticed it.

He'd rather gain another scar than lose her forever.

"Just like you, Sapph, I want to change the things that I can, and in my case, I want to at least let you know that I trust you. Not just through words but through my actions too."

There was silence until Sapphire released a breath. "Do ya think I'm doin' the right thing?"

He was perplexed at her question, but he let her finish.

"I caught a Salamence, and now we're flyin' around Hoenn with Mandero. Do ya think I'm changin' the things I can change?"

He now understood what she meant. It made sense if she still questioned her actions; things worsened the last time she changed something she had the power to.

Taking a deep breath, he slowly nodded. "You are, don't worry, and...it's okay if you don't completely understand your mom's words yet," his hand journeyed to hers and intertwined their fingers. "We'll figure it out together."

She couldn't help but crack a smile. Doing things with Ruby sounded great. She would love to understand what her late mother really meant with that statement, and she would be more elated to do it with Ruby. "Thank ya."

Ruby pressed his lips against her cheeks. "Anything for you."


Bonus:


In an alternate timeline

The place was in a tranquil state. Bird-like Pokemon perched on tree branches whilst some chirped and flew away. The sun's rays were bright and warm, enough to comfort everything it would touch.

Ruby shut his already closed eyes but later fluttered them open. He groaned, sitting up to rub his aching head. His eyes wandered around the vicinity, scanning it. His neutral expression turned into a frown.

Nothing's changed, huh?

He slowly stood up and patted his shorts. He immediately halted when he saw Sapphire laying on the ground. His eyes widened, as his body acted on his own and bolted right beside her. He was going to help her stand up, but the girl did it on her own.

She blinked, rubbing her left eye. It dawned to her that Ruby's face was close to hers. Maybe too close. "I—"

The Charmer wrapped his arms around her waist. He buried his head on the crook of her neck, as he pulled her closer. His quiet sob became loud whimpers. He released a breath, relaxing but his embrace tightened. "I'm so glad to see you..."

The brunette bit her lip, also resting her head on the crook of his neck. They stayed in each other's arms for several minutes. Their comforting embrace intensified and neither cared about the events occurring around them.

It was nothing but them trapped in their own little world.

Ruby sniffled, releasing a breath through his mouth. He leisurely let go, but his arms around her waist remained. He leaned his forehead against hers. "I'm glad you're here," he uttered, coughing. "But...how did you know I was here?"

Sapphire paused, biting her lip once again. She took a deep breath. "Ya texted me and when I arrived here, I followed ya into the portal," she confessed, her eyes remained on the grassy ground. "I didn't know what happened; it feels like I've been runnin' forever and then suddenly, I was out here with ya."

He gently bobbed his head, gently acknowledging her answer. He drew his lower lip between his teeth. It seemed like she didn't see everything and while it would be...confusing and complicated to tell her about his experience, it was better that he mentioned it.

No more closed doors. He had to open them if he didn't want to lose her again.

He sighed but later took in a deep breath. "This is gonna be a confusing story," he uttered, his eyes were closed. He knew she would understand. Sapphire...She had always been understanding despite the mistakes he did. "but you deserve to know it."

She was baffled but when he opened his eyes and removed his forehead from hers, she could tell he was serious. She looked at him intently, silently communicating that she was ready.

"I don't know every detail, but..." he rubbed the back of his neck, his eyes remained to gaze on hers. "I planned on using Celebi," he began and she already had an idea of what he attempted to do, but she let him continue. "I wanna go back in time to stop that Salamence from attacking us—from traumatizing you..."

Tears welled up in his eyes, but he wiped it off with his shoulder. "And just as I was about to, we—ourselves from a different timeline stopped me."

If Sapphire wasn't knowledgeable about Pokemon, she would've thought he was crazy. However, she believed him. Not only she often read her father's research notes to improve her vocabulary, she knew her boyfriend was telling the truth.

"I don't know what happened to them," another fresh set of tears fell from his cheeks. He snivelled it off. "but your other self was carrying me—my other self. I seemed to be injured and well..." he scratched his head but stopped. He shifted his attention on his right hand and saw Sapphire's own was holding his and giving it a reassuring squeeze.

He smiled meekly. He appreciated this little gesture. He breathed in and held her hand, sincerely kissing it. "Your other self said something I never realized."

She was silent, anticipating an answer, as her hold on his hand tightened. "You—S-She said that..." he swallowed the lump in his throat. "I don't have to change the past...to give you a perfect life," he bawled once again, as the brunette moved closer. "I knew your other self was telling the truth," he resumed. "but...your horrible experiences in the past are preventing you from being happy. I can't just sit here and watch you be...unhappy."

He placed a hand on his chest, clutching it as tense as possible. "I just want you to be happy even if I'm not the cause of that happiness!"

His tears fell, his emotions exploded, and he couldn't control himself any longer. He just...desired her happiness. If she was elated, then he would be as well.

Sapphire weakly nodded, but she squeezed their linked hands even more. She was quiet; she didn't know what to say. She knew Ruby would do almost anything for her happiness, but she didn't expect him to travel back in time just to make her life peaceful.

But—just as her other self stated—he didn't need to change the past. She was already contented being with him.

"I'm sorry," he muttered, gritting his teeth. "I'm sorry for not telling this, Sapphire. I trust you and at the same time, I just want to keep you safe," he lifted his head and finally got to look at her. His eyes were red, puffy, and teary, but she didn't mind it. "I'll do anything to protect you even if it means travelling back to the past to make sure you're happy in the present."

She choked but countered it with a gulp. Her fang poked from her top lip, preventing her tears from falling but it did. Ruby reached for her cheek and held it gently, as if she was extremely fragile.

"I love you," he muttered, before softly pressing his soft lips against hers. It didn't last for several minutes but to Ruby and Sapphire, it lasted forever.

"It's true," she spoke after moments of silence. He raised an eyebrow. "I may still have this trauma," she gripped her chest, smiling wistfully. "but being with ya is more than I could ask for."

Her words were more than enough to relieve him. He moved in closer once again and pecked her forehead with a smile.

"I'll do better," he uttered. "I promise," he held her hands and kissed them. "I can't afford to lose you again."

She smiled, nodding. "I'll do better for yer sake too."

His genuine smile grew wider. He was both lucky and blessed to have her.


Therapy 2: Electric Boogaloo

The reason why I chose Aggron to battle Salamence is because of its flashback in ORAS. Who knew that he saw the whole thing when that Salamence attacked his trainer and Ruby. ;-;

I have no consistent pronouns from the actual Pokemon but I hope it doesn't bother anyone [but feel free to contact me via DMs to correct me on this]

I don't understand Pokemon physics but I know the Salamence should've died from that rock slide….okay that was…..dark, I guess?

The store clerk is similar to a Stan Lee cameo since his appearance was loosely based on Stan Lee. It's a fic based on a comic book so...yeah...why not, I guess :'))

When Sapphire was trying to pet Mandero is similar to Hiccup trying to pet Toothless for the first time in the How To Train Your Dragon movie

If anyone has read my one-shots, this is where Mandero the Salamence originated :'))

The bonus scene has been rewritten for like...5 times and it's the reason why this chapter has been delayed since the bonus scene has been bothering me since it doesn't seem right :'))

The next alternate ending is much shorter and just 1 chapter but I'll revise some parts/edit them so yeah

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