A Ripple in Time @teamcap
7: Reality Check

Big shoutout to Myth and Blazingly Awesome for reviewing every chapter! Your reviews complete my day!

And since Myth wrote a wonderful review, I should share it and answer it here so people could be informed as well! ovo

MythGirl Writes: Looks like they have a bit of a plan in order! But they don't recognize the pokedex holders, or even know what a pokedex is? Interesting... Great chapter, as usual!

The Pokedex doesn't exist in this timeline. However, incorporating that info into the story was a big struggle so I ended up mentioning it instead. ^^;

Also, uhhh, I am not sure if I should put on a warning since I let a friend beta read it one more time but be warned, I guess?

Chapter 7 - Reality Check

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The Next Day.

"So you're not coming with us?"

Archie shrugged and sat in front of Emerald's computer. "I'm here to guide you since I know Maxie's moves."

"You do know that sounds slightly creepy, right?" Emerald replied, blinking. He placed a Poke Ball in his pocket.

"I just know where Maxie's favourite books are located in the library, okay?"

Emerald waved his hand and chuckled. He could tell how crazy Archie was for Maxie. "Whatever, Archie. Let's talk about this once all of this is mission is over."

"You know you're not getting any fucking word from me," Archie retorted, but it gave Emerald a smug expression.

"I could try."

Archie blinked. "Fuck," Knowing the boy, he would find a way. "Just get your ass outta here and do your job."

Emerald laughed loudly this time. "Sure, lover boy."

"Goddammit, you little shit," Archie mumbled angrily as he watched Emerald leave the room. Why was that boy so fascinated about other people's love lives?

"Alright, we're off to Lilycove Library," Emerald stated once he left the room. "Sapphire, your Gardevoir knows that place, so we're using it to teleport there," he explained, standing in front of the couple. He eyed them from head to toe. He could sense some awkwardness dawdling in the air, and honestly, it was making him uncomfortable. Yet, he didn't have time for it; their mission comes first, after all. He sighed. "Let's just go."

Sapphire nodded, biting her lip. She instructed her Gardevoir to take them to Lilycove Library, and in a flash, they managed to arrive at their destination.

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Lilycove City

Lilycove Public Library

10:00 AM

This was definitely awkward as Sapphire had expected. The moment they arrived at Lilycove Library, she felt that some tension was growing between her and Ruby. Or was it just her? She shook her head, trying to concentrate on the mission.

They were able to sneak into the library without getting much attention. Emerald was annoyed that Ruby complained about them getting in the air vent and after quietly scolding him, Ruby surrendered and followed.

"Alright, we're here," Emerald muttered, as he stopped in his tracks. He grabbed something from his backpack and took out a rope.

They finally reached the archives section. Sensing the ever-growing awkward aura around the two lovebirds, Emerald opted to just get the books himself. He gulped once he finished tying the rope around his waist. He pulled it gently, hoping it was knotted tightly and turned around to look at his companions. He gave them a strict look, before handing them the cord.

"Don't ever let it go," he whispered while the two just nodded. Sapphire held onto it, placing both of her feet on the sides of the air vent before Emerald dove down with the cable tied around his waist whilst holding his breath. He then used it to swing from every bookshelf.

Emerald was surprisingly skilled; he was able to grab every book they needed in a flash. The brunette wondered if the Emerald in their reality had the same skill. She now understood why Archie insisted the young boy to go with them.

Ruby just watched Sapphire hold onto the rope. His eyes never left hers as he sighed. The tension kept on growing every moment and he wished he could just stop it from expanding; it was making him uneasy. He just...wanted this feeling to end.

"Last one," Emerald muttered and grabbed a book on the very edge of the shelf. He let his left hand rest on the top rail while his foot was in the middle. He scanned the book first before shoving it in his bag. He just hoped he wasn't too heavy. He was more concerned about how the lovers would pull him up than the rope breaking from the excessive weight.

With a sigh leaving his mouth, he tugged the rope. He was expecting that it would take a while for them to pull him up but the constant hoisting stunned him. So the five ginormous books he grabbed didn't increase his weight?

"Gotcha," Sapphire mumbled, as she lifted the rope one last time until Emerald went inside the air vent.

He greeted them with a stupefied face and a gaped mouth. "H-How?"

Sapphire just grinned, scratching her neck while Ruby was smirking behind her. "Ya weren't that heavy, honestly."

"That's because he helped?" the young boy asked but Ruby shook his head. Now he was more shocked. Just how physically strong is Sapphire and how long was she hiding this massive strength?

"We should get out of here," Ruby mumbled and crawled forward, but the panel he touched crumbled, causing it to collapse. He slipped and caved in, yet Sapphire swooped down and caught him. He looked up and was relieved to see her. "Sapph..."

It was awkward to speak to her since she never talked nor touched him since last night; all she did was read a book, just to ignore him, once Archie left them in their room yesterday. Because of this, he was happy that at least she made contact with him. Although, he wished it could be under a safer circumstance and not like this.

Sapphire gritted her teeth and pulled Ruby up. Her hand retracted, and she followed Emerald.

Ruby frowned. He guessed he still had a long way to go.

Their entire escapade was silent and it made Ruby feel somewhat strange. Sure, they were required to remain quiet, but he guessed this had something to do with the tension between him and Sapphire. He wanted to talk to her, really, but he was afraid. He didn't know why he was scared in the first place, and he wished he could just grab the courage to talk to her. He didn't like it if Sapphire wasn't talking to him.

The trio went out of the air vent with ease. Emerald was leading them with the books he gathered placed in his backpack. Sapphire followed his lead, with Ruby trailing behind them. The heels of their shoes silently scrub the tiled floor as they ran quietly. Once they saw the exit, however, they heard a familiar voice.

"No, please!"

Ruby's eyes widened. He knew exactly to whom that voice belonged to. He immediately turned to Sapphire and saw nothing but fear shrouding in her eyes. Should he hold her hand? He was frightened that she might slap it away.

"What are you two doing?" Emerald hissed. He watched Ruby exit out of the air vent to approach Sapphire with the girl slowly walking away from him. "We're almost at the exit, come on!"

Sapphire ignored Emerald and walked closer. She hid behind one of the bookshelves as her eyes scanned for the source of the voice.

To her surprise, she saw her father kneeling in front of Maxie. Five Houndoom were surrounding him as they growled, making him cower back.

"Maxie, please! You know it isn't that easy to look for that Pokemon! It even took you months—years, even, to find Groudon. I—"

"Silence!" Maxie slapped him as the Houndoom barked.

Sapphire gritted her teeth and gripped the bookshelf. She swore she could destroy it at any moment. She felt a presence beside her; she knew it was Ruby's but she didn't have time to look at him. She had to find a way to get her father out of there. But how? Her entire body was trembling, and her legs were stiff again. Why was she feeling like this? She already let this terror control her when Maxie murdered her master, and she couldn't let this happen again! She had to do something! Dammit! Dammit! Move!

"I gave you one job," Maxie said through gritted teeth and grabbed Professor Birch by the collar. He lifted him as the professor struggled. "Just one and you couldn't even do it correctly!" He threw him across the room, and the Houndoom followed.

Professor Birch coughed. Scrambling backward, his back pressed against the wall. "N-Nice Houndoom..."

The Houndoom's eyes gleamed with anger, with their bodies bending in a pouncing position. Their tails were raised, and their mouths closed, growling and displaying their sharp teeth. Professor Birch gulped.

"You have one week to look for this Pokemon, and you're going to do it correctly." Maxie approached him and stopped beside the Houndoom. His hands were dug in his pockets, as he scowled.

"B-But," Professor Birch tried to stand up, but one of the Houndoom barked at him. He remained seated on the floor. "T-This is a rare Pokemon! You can't easily find it in one—"

"Learn when to shut your mouth!"

"But—"

"Teach him a lesson."

The Houndoom barked and charged right through the professor; one pierced its sharp claws into the professor's chest while the rest tore through his legs and his arms.

"NO!"

Maxie's eyes widened as he broke his gaze from the dying professor. He saw a teenage girl approaching him with a Gardevoir beside her. "What the?"

"Moon Blast!"

The Houndoom ripped the professor apart, yet they all backed off when they saw a pink energy blast hurtling towards them. They snarled at the Gardevoir while the Psychic-Fairy type glared back.

"Dad!" Sapphire called and sat beside her father. She grabbed his bleeding hand and tried to shake him awake, but it wasn't working. His arms, his legs, and his chest were bleeding constantly. "No...Dad...please, wake up! Please! Dad!"

Something inside Sapphire snapped. Tears started flowing down her eyes as she screamed. She buried her head in her father's bleeding chest as she squeezed his hand.

Maxie just blinked. So this was Professor Birch's daughter, huh? He heard she went missing. What was she doing here?

"Get away from her!"

Maxie swirled around again and saw a boy with a Gallade running towards him. The boy looked very similar to the professor's friend, Norman, and he assumed he was related to the aforementioned Gym Leader from Johto.

"Come on, we gotta go!" Ruby held her waist, ignoring the blood dripping on her clothes and pulled her away from the professor. He hugged her from behind but she whirled around, burying her head in his chest. He felt the blood staining on his clothes, but he didn't care. What mattered now was to help Sapphire and get out of here.

Maxie didn't know who the hell were those two teenagers in front of him, but he knew he had to kill them before they could spread this news. Grabbing something from his pocket, he took out a gun and pointed it at them. His eyes were filled with rage as he pulled the trigger.

Ruby was alerted by this and screamed as loud as he could, "Kiruru, teleport us back! Ruru, use Protect!"

Ruru looked at Ruby as he held her trainer. She then looked at Maxie, and saw all five Houndoom and a firearm's bullet aiming towards them. Ruru closed her eyes as a magical veil surrounded them. The Houndoom and the bullet bounced off once they hit it. Kiruru saw this opportunity and teleported everyone back to Archie's lair, leaving Maxie and the five Houndoom in the library.

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Ruby, Sapphire, Ruru, and Kiruru arrived at the resistance's base in a matter of seconds. Sapphire was still crying in Ruby's chest while he held her closer, drawing circles around her back and hoping she would calm down.

They didn't realize they teleported back to Archie's office until they heard a fist smacking a flat surface. In this case, a table.

"WHAT THE HELL?!" he screeched, pushing the table away from him. "You left Emerald alone?!"

Ruby didn't respond; he just continued holding Sapphire and buried his nose in her hair. He didn't have time to deal with Archie's 'BS' at the moment.

Archie's Pokegear suddenly rang. He grabbed it and answered the call. "What the fuck do you want now?!"

"Archie, it's me. I'm on my way back there. I was lucky that I was able to get out with my Flygon. We're on our way, don't worry."

Archie sighed in relief and grabbed his vape. "Good. Make sure Maxie won't see you. Do you still have the books?"

"Yeah," Emerald replied and ended the call. He held his bag closer as the corners of his eyes creased. The mission was going well until Sapphire let her feelings control her. He was pissed, yet he understood why she acted like that.

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Archie screamed and shoved his electric cigarette in his mouth. He took a deep breath and let it all out. Smokes later came out of his mouth, as he smacked his fist on the wall. "What the bloody hell was that shitty stunt for?!" he yelled and went in front of Ruby and Sapphire.

Sapphire stopped crying, but her eyes remained on the floor. She gripped Ruby's shirt. She jeopardized the mission, and it was all her fault. She didn't know what got into her; the moment she saw her father, she knew he had to do something. But she didn't think of the consequences. She was a fool.

No, she was a brainless idiot for acting like that. They had their chance to escape quietly, and she blew it! She didn't need to wonder why Archie was pissed.

"You're lucky that Emerald got out of there, but for fuck's sake!" Archie slammed his fist on the wall again, forming a small crack this time. "Why did you have to go out there and fucking expose yourself, huh, princess?!"

Ruby clenched his fists and glared at Archie. He should've known better. "Hey, watch it!" he snapped. "Sapphire just saw her father die in front of her, and you expect her to ignore that?!"

"Do you think I'm fucking blind, boy?!" Archie shouted back. "I gave you two one job and that's to help Emerald and not expose yourself in front of Maxie! Now Maxie knows about you two! Your girlfriend endangered the entire mission! Look, I understand. I fucking do. It's hard to see your father get murdered but for crying out loud! Can you just set aside your fucking feelings when it comes to important stuff like this?!"

"Says the guy who can't even face Maxie because of his personal feelings for him!" Ruby spat as his glare intensified.

Archie glowered at him even further. His anger started rising up. "Listen, boy," His index finger pointed at Ruby. "I can't have your girlfriend joining us when we're off to find Celebi. She'll do nothing but endanger the mission, especially from that stunt she pulled."

Sapphire felt like daggers impaled her heart repeatedly. She couldn't help but agree with Archie. Ruby was right; he needed to do this alone. He didn't need her; the mission would be more successful if she weren't in it. Was this the reason why Ruby often left her out of important stuff like this? She knew she could just ignore her father's murder and move on, but her master's death scarred her already. She couldn't just let someone die in front of her when she had the power to change that. But...why must it come at a terrible price?

"You're an idiot!" Ruby growled at Archie, surprising Sapphire. She looked at him and saw anger in his eyes. He didn't need to defend her; Archie was just stating the truth. "You have to remember that if it weren't for Sapphire, none of us would ever know that I am the one responsible for this messed up reality! Sapphire knew what we really needed to do from the very beginning and you can't just let her stay here! She needs to go with us. In our world, Sapphire is the Hoenn Champion. We're losing our best chance at winning if we don't let the champion herself join us!"

"Ruby," Sapphire muttered and placed her bloody hand on his cheek.

Ruby averted his gaze at Archie and looked at Sapphire. His eyes changed from rage to sympathy and worry. "Sapphire..."

Sapphire bit her lip as she caressed his cheek. She sighed and a tear fell from her left eye. Ruby reached it and wiped it off with his thumb. "Archie is right. Don't bother."

"No, not again," Ruby held her hand tightly. "I'll make sure you won't be left out on important things like this again. You're strong...you always are."

Sapphire didn't know how to respond to that. Was she? She may be the current Hoenn Champion but was she really that strong? Or her challengers were just weak trainers? She nibbled her bottom lip. Even if Ruby said such nice things to her, she couldn't ignore the fact that her stupidity endangered this mission.

Archie didn't reply. He just went outside the room and shut the door. Despite telling the truth to Sapphire, he couldn't help but feel amazed and guilty. He was amazed that Ruby was able to defend his girlfriend, yet he felt guilty for scolding Sapphire. She may be the Hoenn Champion in their supposed-to-be reality but she's just a kid. It's normal for someone to break down whenever their loved ones died. He sighed, grabbing his vape. Maybe he went too far, especially with his cursing.

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Once Archie left, Ruby continued to hug Sapphire, not bothering the stains in their clothes. He had never experienced losing his family. Sapphire already lost her mother as a child and she only had her father left. Sure, she may have relatives, but she didn't have a strong connection with them, unlike the bond she had with her father. Sapphire loved and respected her father; seeing him being murdered in front of her was too much. He would definitely do the same thing if it happened to his mother. But deep down, he hoped that kind of situation would never occur. Like Sapphire with her father, his mother was also important to him. He had a deeper bond with his mother than his father, after all.

He took a deep breath and kissed her left temple. It felt nice to hug and touch her again, but he didn't like that he had to do this when she's sad.

"I'm sorry," Sapphire choked and sniffled. She gently pushed herself away from Ruby. "I'm sorry that I messed up. I know if we find Celebi and go back in time, my father will live but...I remembered my mother's words a-and..."

Ruby bit his lip and grabbed her hand, patting it. "You shouldn't apologize, Sapph. This is my fault. If I didn't go back in time, none of this would have happened."

"I couldn't stop Maxie from killing my dad yet at the same time, I knew this was our chance to escape when he was distracted, but I blew it!" She balled her fist and punched the floor, cracking it. "Wasn't there a way to save him and escape quietly?!"

Ruby just watched her helplessly. His shoulders droop and his mood dropped seeing Sapphire's moment of despair. He understood what she was going through but at the same time, he wished he could do something to make her feel better. "Sapphire, if I were in your shoes, I would do the same thing. I—"

"I guess this is what you felt like, huh?" Sapphire interrupted and looked at her left palm. The fresh blood was finally dry and gazing at it did nothing but break her heart. "I never thought of the consequences when I ran out there. All I knew was that I had to help my dad. This is what you felt, right?"

Ruby lowered his head and closed his eyes. "It's what I felt, and...it wasn't a good feeling."

"It really isn't," she replied and clenched her left fist. "I wish I could've stopped myself. I wish I could've set aside my feelings. I wish I—"

"Hey," Ruby wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer and rested his chin on her shoulder. "Don't be so hard on yourself, please. Listen, I know living under the consequence of that decision hurts and every day. I regret it too, trust me. It's true we can't do anything to change it, but we..." he stopped, realizing what he was trying to say. He found it quite ironic that he was telling her what she wanted him to understand.

"...can do something about it." both of them finished and Sapphire just sighed. A small smile crept on her lips as she grasped his arm.

She was supposed to say that to him instead of the other way around, but it was nice to know that even if he did apologize, he regretted making those bad decisions. She took a deep breath. Well, it looked like it was her turn now, didn't it?

"Ruby," she said, getting his attention. She spun around and blushed, realizing how close his face was. She gulped. "I should've told this to ya a long time ago, but..." She bit her lip. It was now or never. It wasn't that she's impatient but she needed to remind him and let him know about this.

"Hmm?" Ruby rose an eyebrow and held her left cheek, stroking it. He just noticed how grubby their hands were from the blood.

"I know ya always let fear control you and cloud your judgment but please, if there's anythin' I can do," She took a deep breath and gripped his shirt. "Don't hesitate to tell me. If you're afraid of somethin', don't hide it; don't keep it to yourself. We're in this together so please, tell me whatever is concernin' ya. I'll do what I can to help ya. You're not alone, Ruby; ya never were. I...I know it takes time to open up with this and that's why I never told this to ya, but...I just wanna let ya know that I'm always here for ya. You don't have to push me away just to protect me. Let me fight alongside ya like we did against Team Magma in the abandoned ship years ago. Please, don't forget that you're not alone. I'm...I'm here for ya. I always will be."

Yesterday felt like his chest was being thrust with a knife constantly but now...he felt whole; he was complete. It felt like Sapphire's words were filling his empty heart. It was an odd feeling, but it was making him feel better. He tried to be vulnerable around Sapphire. He tried to tell her his inner demons but fear was stopping him. If he told her, he might come off as too toxic and Sapphire might leave him for that. That's why he kept things to himself because he didn't want to lose people, especially Sapphire. But what she said made him realize that he was never alone.

Sure, relying on one's partner all the time was too much; it may affect the relationship negatively, but that limit must be controlled. And it starts with letting the wall of ice melt and opening the door for that loved one to enter.

Ruby sighed and rested his forehead on hers. His hand stopped caressing her cheek. "Thank you," he muttered, pressing his lips onto her forehead. "We'll figure this out together. I...I'll make sure to not leave you out again. I'll make sure I won't push you away again and...I'll make sure to always remind myself that you're ready to understand me. I promise you that, Sapphire."

"Ya better," she quipped, placing her arms on his back. "'Cause I'm always here for ya to tell me stuff. I...I never asked ya about it since I thought you weren't ready. But I guess remindin' you about it will do."

Ruby smiled then chuckled. "Well, a reminder would be great. Not that I forget stuff easily," he paused, realizing what he said. "Okay, you know what I mean: I need to be reminded that I have a wonderful girlfriend who deserves the world."

Sapphire giggled at that. She had to admit that his last words were quite charming that she couldn't help but laugh. "Silly."

Ruby smiled. It's been a while since he heard her beautiful laugh. "I love you too," he responded before catching her lips for a kiss with one hand cupping her cheek.

The kiss didn't last long, however, much to Ruby's dismay. When Sapphire gently pulled away and turned around, he knew that there was something they needed to do first.

Kiruru was able to teleport Professor Birch's dead body with them. The body was covered with blood, which was now dry, and the clothes the body was wearing were torn apart from the Houndoom's demise. He sighed and stood up, patting his bottom, and looked at the Gardevoir and the Gallade who were behind them all this time. They were quiet but he could tell they were also frightened. It made sense since they witnessed something unpleasant. He sighed, kneeling his left leg and placing a hand on Sapphire's shoulder.

"Let's bury his body," he muttered while Sapphire sniffled. She stood up and nodded.

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South of Littleroot Town

5:00 PM

Sapphire couldn't help but let the tears in her eyes fall like rain descending from the sky. It was difficult for her to cover her father's dead body with a cloth and carry him all the way in this deserted forest, but she had to. She knew dead people and Pokemon should be buried at Mt. Pyre but that place was close to Maxie's territory. This was the safest place she could bury her father. She knew this would all be changed when they stopped Ruby from altering the past, but alternate reality or not, her father deserved a proper funeral.

She sniffled. She had never cried so much since her mother's death. It hurt. It hurt so much that she just wanted to give up and lock herself in her room for days until she was emotionally better. She snapped out of her trance when she felt Ruby's hand on her shoulder. It was warm, soft, and comforting; it was just what she needed. She choked, the tears continued plummeting.

"He didn't deserve this," she muttered between sobs.

Ruby bit his lip. His eyes were filled with sorrow with his lips forming into a frown. His arm moved around her neck and pulled her closer. Sapphire gave in and cried in his chest once again. "I promise," he reassured, breaking the silence. "We'll change the past. Everything will go back the way it used to be. But, for now, just hold on. Hold on for a few moments. We'll get Celebi soon. I promise."

Sapphire sobbed harder. He was right; this was only temporary. Things would eventually go back the way it was.

From a distance, Archie was leaning on a tree with his hands folded across his chest, as he watched Ruby comfort Sapphire. His trusty, old vape was placed in his mouth as he inhaled it. A few seconds passed, he released his breath and smoke came out from his mouth and his nose.

He felt guilty, for it was partially his fault. Maybe if he went with them instead of 'supervising' them, things would've changed. He could've talked to Maxie and saved the professor from his friend's wrath.

Well, to be fair, Ruby and Sapphire fought Courtney and Matt together in the abandoned ship.

Did Sapphire screw up? Yes, yes she did. :3

Trust me, the last part is so darn tough to write even if I did reread ORAS and RS a bunch of times. EEEEEE

And time to meme this line "But...why must it come at a terrible price?" = What did it cost? Everything.

For more stupid memes like this, follow TheCEOOfRuSa on twitter. Advertisiiiiiiinggggggggg

One more thing: in case you probably, most likely didn't know, I made a fic based on this fic. Meaning if anyone's interested in seeing the glimpses of what happened in the other regions when Ruby screwed up the timeline, you can read it now. It's already posted and it's called "A Ripple in Time: The Alternate Realities". It features almost every region though I'm not sure if I'll put Galar there since it's still new when I made this announcement. So, yeah. If you're curious, do check it out because remember: the time travel rules are based on the Flashpoint Paradox so it's really freaking messy.

One more, one more:

The world is in a state of panic recently because of covid-19 and you're all probably staying at home or under lockdown/quarantine because of it. That's why I decided to update this to maybe help you distract yourself from the world. 2020 is definitely a terrible year but please, stay safe and wash your hands. This will all end soon. Everything will go back the way it was.

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