A Ripple in Time @teamcap
6: Disassembling

Chapter 6...on valentine's day...what's so special about this day?

Chapter 6 - Disassembling

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Sapphire placed a hand on her chin, as her eyes wandered around the place. The room they were in was similar to Archie's except it was bigger and had a lot of equipment like a machine, where one could heal their Pokemon, computers, and two bookshelves. She was in the middle of the room, sitting on a chair with her arms on the table while Emerald was talking.

She was able to ask Emerald what she and Ruby were like in this reality, and the results were the exact same as what she saw from the memory lighter.

While Emerald had never met Ruby, he met Sapphire through a mutual friend, Wally. Sapphire was a contest idol, which didn't surprise her a bit. She was prim, proper and 'sparkly' as Emerald described. She always wore a fancy outfit, and people often described her as a 'princess', similar to what Archie called her an hour ago.

"And that's not all!" Emerald exclaimed. He had no idea why Sapphire suddenly changed, but if it meant telling her everything could bring her back, then he would do what he can. "You're in a relationship with—"

"Ah, there you are!" Archie intervened by opening the door and accidentally slamming it on the wall, causing Emerald to flinch.

"Dude! How many times do I have to tell you to not slam the door?!" the blond complained, turning around to look at Archie.

Archie ignored it, however. "Emerald, I need you to do something."

Emerald grumbled. "Hey, don't you ignore me!"

"It's urgent," Archie responded. He was clearly messing with him based on his chivalrous tone.

Emerald decided to drop it. He turned to look at Sapphire. "Well, I hope I was able to trigger your memory or something." He hopped off the chair and approached Archie.

Ruby stood beside Sapphire and his eyes gleamed with curiosity. She looked shocked and confused. Did Emerald tell her something? "You okay?"

Sapphire snapped out of her thoughts and blinked. She felt Ruby squeezing her hand, causing her to blush. She coughed and stood up. Her blush deepened when his face leaned in inches away from hers. He never changes, but as she gets lost into his eyes, she realized that he's the one who was not alright. Clasping his hand, she placed the other on his chest. "I am, but are ya—"

"Hold on! Wait a second!" Emerald shouted, interrupting Sapphire. The couple looked at Emerald and Archie. "You want me to take Sapphire and..." He took a glance at Ruby before rolling his eyes. "...that dude to Lilycove City Library to get info about Celebi? Are you insane?!"

"Very funny," Archie threw his head back, feigning a laugh while Emerald smacked his palm on his face. His laughter soon died and was replaced with a serious expression. "But seriously, we need info about Celebi. They need it."

"Why?" Emerald asked, cocking an eyebrow.

Archie knelt down and patted the boy's head. "I'll tell you later. Just focus on finding a way to infiltrate the library without Maxie knowing."

Emerald sighed and nodded his head. He went to his computer and started working.

Archie smiled at the young boy and approached Ruby and Sapphire with his hands dug in his pockets. "You two will go with Emerald once he's done. Make sure that Maxie doesn't see you, understand?"

Sapphire bit her lip and nodded. "Thanks for helping us out, Archie."

Archie rubbed his chin. "I'm doing this for Maxie, princess. Don't thank me."

"That's Archie's way of saying 'you're welcome'," Emerald said while his eyes were focused on his laptop.

Archie laughed and waved his hand, going outside the room. He closed the door gently this time, leaving Ruby and Sapphire with Emerald.

"Are ya alright?" Sapphire asked and placed a hand on Ruby's chin, caressing it.

Ruby just sighed and wrapped his arms around her waist. This surprised Sapphire but she reciprocated. They stood there, hugging each other, pouring every bit of their feelings into it as Ruby's hand held Sapphire's head. It played with her hair while pressing their bodies closer. He closed his eyes, stopping the tears from falling.

He thought about what Archie said, and it only made him feel guiltier. His conscience wasn't helping either. He knew he had made so many mistakes and wrong decisions in his life, but deciding to ask Sapphire on a date wasn't and would never be one of them. He didn't know how or what he should do to convince her that he trusts her and also make her believe that she is always strong enough. He sighed and pulled away. He bit his lip, as a tear fell from his eye.

Sapphire gulped and used her thumb to wipe a tear from his eye. He's been concealing his emotions and he needed to let it all out. She turned around, only to see Emerald working on his computer. "Emerald," she called.

"Yeah?" Emerald asked, his eyes were still on the computer screen.

"We'll be excusin' ourselves. Just find us at my house."

"Yeaaah, but your house is destroyed, remember?"

Sapphire once again swallowed the lump in her throat. "I know, but we just need..." She bit her lip. If she mentioned the word 'private', would he assume something awkward or embarrassing?

Well, she wouldn't know unless she tried.

"If you want a private room then here," Emerald grabbed a key on his desk and tossed it to Sapphire.

Sapphire caught it and a note with the numbers '3818' was attached to it. She furrowed her eyebrows. These were the same numbers that Ruby used as a password for his master's aircar. "Thanks?"

"Don't mention it. As much as I wanna know more, I gotta go back to work. Now, go."

Sapphire nodded her head and grabbed Ruby's hand, leaving Emerald alone in the room.

Sapphire was able to easily find the room. It was on the farthest side of this so-called secret base that Archie and his friends built. When she opened the door, she was surprised to see a bed, a nightstand, and a spare ceiling fan. She didn't know what was the purpose of this room, but she was thankful they had this.

Locking the door behind them, Sapphire shoved the key in her fanny pack and sat beside Ruby on the bed. Ruby's left arm draped across his eyes as he laid down on the bed. He had a huge frown on his face and it was enough to make her sad. Despite wanting to ask what was bothering him, she opted to just stay put until Ruby was ready to talk. She sighed and laid down beside him, moving a few inches away from him.

They had never slept on the same bed before, and she hoped they would easily find Celebi today. She didn't want to sleep on the same bed with Ruby, mostly because it was her father's orders. Although, a part of her sought to rebel against her father's wishes, just to find out what would it feel like to sleep with the person she loves. She could imagine how soft and warm he could be while slumbering.

Her eyes widened, and she mentally slapped herself. Her cheeks flushed at her ridiculous thoughts. She shouldn't even think about such things!

She coughed and sat up on the bed. She should just focus on helping Ruby. She moved her gaze toward him and her frown returned. Did Archie tell him something that made him this depressed?

"I'm sorry," Ruby muttered, surprising Sapphire. What was he apologizing for, specifically? He sat up and opened his eyes.

Sapphire got lost into his eyes, and all she saw was regret, guilt, and pain. Her hand reached to stroke his cheek, but Ruby kissed it and intertwined their fingers instead.

"Archie's right," he continued and took a deep breath. Sapphire bit her lip as she waited for him to continue. "I shouldn't push you away. I should have consulted you when I decided to find Celebi. I shouldn't have let fear consume me. I..." He gritted his teeth. His hold on her hand tightened. She didn't mind it, squeezing back and gesturing him to continue. "I'm sorry. I'm really really sorry, Sapphire. This is all my fault. Up until now I still wanted to find Celebi on my own because you have nothing to do with my mistakes. I made these on my own and—"

A knock interrupted Ruby's rambling. Before Sapphire could say something, Archie came in with Emerald beside him. She was starting to feel slightly annoyed at Archie bursting into people's rooms with no permission.

"Okay, we got the building plans. You three will sneak in and grab whatever info you can find about Celebi." Archie explained then looked at Ruby and Sapphire. He rose an eyebrow. "Uh..." He scratched his neck. "Did we interrupt something? You do know that this is no time to make-out. This room may be yours, but remember that you're just borrowing it." He grumbled, folding his arms across his chest. "So that doesn't mean you two can do whatever you want in it."

If Ruby and Sapphire were caught too close to each other, Sapphire would usually push Ruby or shove her hand away from him. But today was different. Ruby instead gently removed his hand from Sapphire's and went in front of Archie with a facial expression resembling his father's.

"I'm going alone."

"What?!" Sapphire and Emerald yelled while Archie just sighed.

Ruby clenched his fists. His arms started trembling. "That's Maxie's territory," he glanced at Sapphire before continuing in a croaked voice, "I-I have to get the information alone. Just give me the—"

"No!" Sapphire interfered and held his shoulder, spinning him around to face her. Her eyes widened when she saw fear in his own eyes. She knew it. Why did he have to decide things on his own again? "You're not goin' alone, Ruby."

Ruby pursed his lips and held her hand, but Sapphire moved it away.

"We're in this together! Didn't ya remember?!"

Ruby felt his breathing became unstable. "I-I know, b-but this Maxie isn't the one we know! He's much worse, Sapph! He killed Tate and Liza!"

"I can take care of myself, Ruby! I have Ruru with me!"

"But what if Maxie's Pokemon is stronger than Ruru? If he defeats Ruru, he wouldn't hesitate to hurt you, and I don't know what should I do if that happens!"

"Ruby, I trained all my life just so I could protect myself and the ones I love. I ain't called the Hoenn Champion and a Pokedex Holder for nothin'!"

Archie's and Emerald's eyes widened at that. She was what?!

"I know, but please..." His emotions were all over the place and neither of them knew how to tame them. "T-This is my fault! Please, let me fix it!"

"Last year, I told ya that if ya leave me out again, I would never ever forgive you even if you did apologize! Don't make me reconsider that!"

"Alright, that's enough!" Archie stepped in between Ruby and Sapphire, pushing them away from each other. He watched Emerald approach Sapphire and pulled her further. Archie breathed, turning to face Ruby. His eyes were wide, quivering, though distant to all around him. It looked like someone was inhumanely murdered in front of him.

"Ruby, you're staying here," Archie grumbled. "Emerald, Sapphire, and I will figure out how you three should get in without Maxie noticing you."

"Are you okay?" Emerald asked Sapphire while she just nodded. "Good. I think you should stay in my room until things calm down between you two."

Sapphire bit her lip and stood up. Her face darkened as she clenched her fists. Emerald swore she looked intimidating and it was enough to bring a chill running through his spine. "I'll be outside."

The men in the room didn't say anything; they just watched Sapphire go outside, slamming the door shut.

Archie let out another infuriated sigh and ran a hand through his hair. This argument further proved that Ruby was the reckless one in their relationship.

"Eesh," Emerald finally spoke after a moment of silence. He looked at Ruby. "You screwed up big time, dude."

"Dude, seriously?" Archie asked with a disappointed face.

Emerald grinned awkwardly and rubbed his ear. "Sorry."

Archie grabbed his electric cigarette and gave it to Ruby, but the boy shook his head. "I guess you don't smoke, huh?"

Ruby nodded as his legs were starting to get weaker.

"Well, what do you do to make yourself calm down?"

Ruby ignored Archie. His knees met the floor moments later as tears spilled from his eyes. Emerald was right; he screwed up. And the worst part was this is the second time she pulled the ultimatum on him. Sapphire had forgiven him after the meteorite incident, but like any human being, she had her limits and he believed he made her reach them. He knew Sapphire would never be able to forgive him but deep down, he hoped she would. "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry, Sapph..."

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Sapphire stormed out of Archie's lair and headed to one of her favourite spots in Littleroot. It wasn't just her preferred spot, though; it was shared with Ruby. It was at the very edge of Littleroot Town where it met Hoenn's seas. The view was often spectacular; one could perfectly see the ocean and Dewford Town. But in this world, it was different. There may be still some water left in the seas but Dewford Town was out of sight.

The trees in the area were burned or dried too, so the only company Sapphire had left was a large boulder. She didn't know how long she was sitting beside this ginormous rock, but it was a better company than Ruby. Just thinking about her boyfriend made her blood boil, yet at the same time, she couldn't help but feel insecure and doubt herself more.

Wasn't being a champion enough to prove how strong she was? Did she need to defeat him again in another Pokemon battle? Or was he overprotective because she wasn't able to save herself from Archie's grunts? She grabbed a pebble on the ground and threw it into the sea. She heard a small splash as she closed her eyes.

The air felt like a heatwave and she hated it. They really needed to find Celebi now before Hoenn dried up completely. She sighed. She felt bad for retreating; she should have been better. The warm breeze ran past her as she stood up. She grabbed her Poke Ball from her pocket and looked at Ruru.

Ruru had a concerned expression on her face while holding her hands tightly. Sapphire assumed that Ruru heard everything. She gave Ruru a fake smile.

"It's okay, Ruru. Ruby...Ruby just wanted to protect me even if..." She bit her lip. She understood why Ruby was acting like that. After all the distress they endured throughout the day, he just couldn't control his emotions anymore, and it just burst like a balloon. She needed to have a talk with him once this mess was fixed. "I can take care of myself. Ruby's just protective. It's cute, but he needs to learn its limits."

Ruru just responded with a nod. It never failed to amaze her at how sympathetic her trainer is.

"Come on," Sapphire dropped Ruru's Poke Ball and headed back to Archie's lair. Once she arrived, she was surprised to see how deserted the place was. Archie may have gathered the 'best' trainers in Hoenn, but it was odd to see the place empty. Were they somewhere else, or did they go home? What was going on?

She went to room 3818 and closed the door. She felt her heart sank when she saw Ruby crying. His eyeballs were as red as his pupils and his eyelids were incredibly bloated. How long was he crying?

"Y-You're okay," Ruby's voice trembled as he tried to stand up, but his legs were too frozen to move.

Sapphire observed him, scanning him from head to toe. Ruby wasn't like this; he would either faint or get his confidence back once he finished breaking down. But seeing him like this was scaring her. She wanted to dismiss her negative emotions and just hug him, telling him that everything would be alright. "Ruby..."

"I-I'm fine," he choked and gulped. He coughed.

"Yeah, but you don't look alright," Archie came in with a can of soda and two bottles of water with him.

Sapphire spun around and glared at Archie. "Why did ya leave him alone here?"

"Listen, princess, I only went out to grab these, so here," He threw the two bottled water on the bed. "Drink it. Stay hydrated. If you two want to find Celebi now, then I suggest you set this couple's argument aside."

"That's the reason why I returned," Sapphire muttered then looked at Ruby. She saw him drink from the bottled water, making her sigh in relief. "What's the plan?"

"You, Emerald and your boyfriend will go to Lilycove Library, sneak in and gather as much data you could get," Archie explained and crumpled the can of soda.

"How about a Pokedex?" she asked.

Archie furrowed his eyebrows. "My dear, I have no idea what the hell is a Pokedex."

Sapphire blinked. So did that mean Pokedexes didn't exist in this reality? "It's a machine that contains every Pokemon data. My father has one of those. There's even this group called the Pokedex Holders!"

"Well, whatever it is, your father never mentioned it or that cult," Archie replied. "Just get a damn book about Celebi in the library, and don't let Maxie see you. He goes there every day to read books. That's his way of calming himself."

At least it's better than smokin'. Sapphire thought and bit her lip. Although, she was more anxious about her companions than sneaking in. She helped her father with his research so blending and lurking in weren't new to her. Ruby, however, wasn't that skillful with this. He was decent, but on a professional level, he wasn't. There were times that wild Pokemon noticed them when they had that data distribution journey years ago. She shook her head. No, she should trust Ruby with this. She could always guide him, after all.

But...how could she guide him if things weren't still alright between them?

Archie giving Ruby the vape is nope. Bad example, Archie. Bad! Smoking is bad for your health, smh!

Day 12361278317824 and still no motivation to write but I managed to edit/proofread/whatever this piece of crap is so yay? I am so tired. I'm sorry for another short chapter but life's been draining me. Been playing a lot of grinding in my gacha games too and too busy playing Breath of the Wild. Link is hot. :p

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