I'm really excited to post this one which is why this was published early. I actually pulled an all-nighter on this (sorta. I passed out after writing 75% of this fic then continued on the next day). This came after from my conversation with Vex in the Pokespe art community discord server. We both agreed that the last parts of RS is messy and should've been done differently so here's my take.
Day 6 is about "Alternate Universe" and it's an AU where Ruby didn't trap Sapphire in that stupid aircar. :'D
WARNING: CHARACTER DEATH!
Summary: Ruby didn't trap Sapphire in the aircar after their confessions. They fought Groudon and Kyogre together, but the outcome wasn't something they'd expected.
56. VS Groudon and Kyogre
The sky was dark as thunder crackled from the heavens. Rain poured and soaked up everything in a small island that every person in Hoenn claimed to be a mirage.
Sapphire took a deep breath, lowering her head and clenching her fists. She took a step closer to her companion. "Hey," she called in a soft voice. He turned around, wondering what it was. Her tone made him more curious, though. Sapphire often sounded confident, but her quiet, meek tone caught his attention.
"There's somethin' I need to talk to you about...before we leave..." she continued, her voice was quivering, worrying him even further. He wanted to ask why but he opted to stay quiet. He might embarrass her even further. Though, a part of him wanted to do that; she did look cute whenever she was shy. "I..." She breathed, calming herself. She could do this.
"Ruby..." She lifted her head, facing him. Her eyes softened and he swore this was the first time he'd seen how beautiful her eyes were. "I...I like ya."
Ruby's eyes widened, as his mouth slightly opened. He could only stare at her.
She...liked him...? She had...a crush on him...?
"Everything is perfectly synchronized!" Juan exclaimed, grabbing their attention. "Kingdra, shoot up a plume of water!"
The Kingdra yelled and raised its head. It did what its master instructed and water came out of its mouth. Ruby and Sapphire saw this and both immediately went on the Tropius' back. The Grass-Flying dinosaur flew to the sky while Ruby and Sapphire sat in silence. Ruby's Pokegear rang, breaking the quiet atmosphere. He turned it on.
"Ruby! It's me! Looks like you managed to depart on time!" Juan called. Ruby replied to him whilst Sapphire listened closely. She couldn't help but feel guilty. She knew she confessed at the wrong time, but...she had her reasons.
"I'm really sorry," she mumbled, making Ruby face her. "I'm really sorry for tellin' you at a time like this, but..." She clenched her fists. "I just had to now."
Ruby fell silent with goosebumps from her confession.
His heart couldn't stop raging in his chest while his stomach twisted into an unlimited amount of knots that seemed inhumanely possible. He breathed, trying to keep his cool. She liked him, but why? Was he the guy she was telling about back in Fortree City?
He mentally shook his head. No, that couldn't be it.
Then again, Sapphire was no ordinary girl.
He felt conflicted, though. He learned to appreciate her during their time in Mirage Island. He learned a lot from her and...he just couldn't describe these feelings every time he was around her. He felt like smiling whenever she was right beside him, even if there wasn't anything funny or to smile about.
He just felt...happy. He felt at peace whenever he was with her. He couldn't express it very well. But, he knew this was the same sensation he felt with his childhood friend.
Or maybe, this was different from when they were children. Maybe it was even stronger.
"After all, you told me yer gonna go back to Johto sooner or later, remember?"
He bit his lip. He remembered. He wanted to go back to Johto after all of this mess, but now, he didn't know. A part of him wanted to stay in Hoenn, but why?
"Unless you've changed yer mind, yer gonna move far away as soon as this battle is over," Sapphire explained, clenching her fists even further. She could feel her voice crack but now wasn't the time for it. "So, we only have a little more time together."
Those words were enough to pierce his heart. It saddened him to know that fact.
"When I thought about that...I felt a sharp pain and that's when I realized..." Sapphire found herself smiling. It was contagious and Ruby was happy to see her smile. He forgot how cute she looked whenever she smiled. "I've got...a crush on this guy..." Her cheeks became rosy and Ruby swore his heart thumped faster than before. He thought his heartbeat couldn't get any quicker but he was wrong. "And... that guy is... you, Ruby."
He was taken aback by this; he didn't expect this at all. He thought she would never like a guy like him. After all, she hated guys like him.
"I really didn't like ya at first."
He chuckled to himself. It was obvious but he was glad it was only her first impression.
"You've got bad manners, you're a show-off, weird, a liar," He swore someone slapped him when she stated that. It couldn't get any worse, can't it? "And a poser," He bit his lip. Those were...harsh words, but he understood why. "I thought you were a selfish guy with a big mouth, but, after a while, I started to see your good side. Like when we fought together," He went back to smiling. He was glad to know that. "And I realized that yer really strong."
The smile on his face faded. Was he though? If he was, then he would've been able to protect his childhood friend. And she wouldn't be afraid of him.
"To tell the truth, there's someone else..."
He looked back at her. He was curious who was that 'someone else'. He wouldn't be surprised if he was better than him, but a part of him wanted to be the better guy between them. His feelings were complicated; he couldn't understand it.
"A boy I spent a couple of days with when I was little. I don't remember his face or his name, but one thing I do remember is he protected me from a Salamence and got a big wound on his head."
Ruby's eyes widened as his mouth fell. Hold on.
A Salamence? A big wound on his head? Don't tell him...
"Do ya remember me talkin' about that person I admired back when we were in Fortree City? I was talkin' about that guy."
He felt his shoulders drop. He was...he was the guy she was talking about...?
No, that couldn't be it. It was him, but it was his former self—the very part of himself that he despised. Why would she like that part of him? He changed because he thought he hurt her.
"I had a crush on him for years and years. It's 'cause of him that I've gotten to be such a strong trainer. But...I spent all my time helpin' my father with his Pokemon Research and my eleventh birthday is coming up. The day I met you at the cave was eighty days before my birthday. I knew it was probably impossible in such a short time but when I remembered that boy's words, I couldn't help myself!" She closed her eyes, chuckling at her impulsive decision. "I wanted to at least visit all the gyms before I turned eleven so that I'd be ready to enter the Pokemon League. I made my birthday the deadline and asked ya to take on this bet with me without thinkin'."
He found her hastiness kind of cute. Who knew she had it in her? "So that's why it was eighty days."
She giggled. "Yeah," There was silence, then a deep breath was taken.
"But..." she continued. "I'm glad I challenged you to this bet now 'cause I got to see your good side," Her eyes were still closed. Her lips curved into a smile with her fang poking out from it. "I like watchin' you fight Pokemon Battles. I like watchin' you brush yer Pokemon. I like how you try to hide yer feelings by showin' off. Now I know that on the inside, yer a nice guy. I like how you won't budge once you've made up yer mind. It's weird. I feel more for you now than the boy that saved me."
Ruby removed his gaze from her. He looked down, only to see their hands were inches away from each other. He wasn't going to lie that he wanted to hold her shaking hand. Why was it trembling anyway? Was she scared?
"I'm glad I got a chance to tell ya how I feel, but...I want to ask ya one more thing."
It grasped his attention. He looked at her inquisitively.
"I want you to stay here. Don't go anywhere after this battle. I want ya to stay and enjoy the beautiful nature of Hoenn with me. So, will ya please?" She paused, looking at him. She gave him her signature fanged smile that made his heart beat faster than the fastest Pokemon to ever exist. "Let's...go back to Littleroot Town together?"
Ruby was speechless; he didn't know what to say. She felt the same. She liked him for who he is. And knowing that she was his childhood friend made him confirm that he actually liked her for who she is as well. He smiled.
The Tropius cried, moving its body to balance himself back from the sudden wind turbulence.
"Ruby!" Sapphire cried and Ruby acted fast. He caught her hand and pulled her back to the Tropius. He held her hand and the Tropius neck until it regained its balance. He sighed in relief, sitting up. He noticed he was still holding her hand and let it go. He gulped.
He had to tell her how he felt as well. She managed to do it and it was his turn. He bit his lip, his hand making it back to hold hers. "Is it too late to say that I like you too?"
Sapphire's eyes widened in shock. Why would he like a wild girl like her anyway?
"You know," Ruby squeezed their linked hands. "It's funny," He chuckled. "My childhood friend and the girl I like are actually the same people."
"W-What?" a baffled Sapphire asked.
Ruby smiled and looked at her with endearment. It was the same look he used to give whenever she gets a new set of clothes. Slowly, he removed his hat, showing the twin scars engraved in his head. Sapphire knew those wounds were familiar; they were the same scars that her childhood friend gained from that Salamence's attack.
She found tears streaming down her eyes, causing him to frown.
"Sapphire," he said as he wore his hat again. "What's wrong?"
The Conqueror was sobbing. "I'm sorry," she croaked as she clenched her fists. "I'm sorry I dragged you into this. If I knew you were that same boy, then—"
"Hey," Ruby held her hands in his. "I made this decision not only because I know how to help, but I also want to fight with you."
"Even if I'm not good enough?"
His mouth was agape. Where did she get that? He knew she was strong enough to save Hoenn. Was she hiding this insecurity this whole time? "You are always good enough," he stated the truth, kissing her hand.
He smiled slightly. "It's an honor to fight with you."
Sapphire felt better just by hearing those words. She squeezed their intertwined hands. "Let's save Hoenn together."
Ruby bobbed his head. "Yeah."
The Tropius yelped, gathering their attention. Ruby and Sapphire looked at the flying dinosaur. The Tropius cried again, telling them that he could see Groudon and Kyogre from here. Sapphire understood her Pokemon and nodded. "We're almost there."
Ruby stitched his eyebrows together while holding her hand tightly. "Let's do this."
Both removed their hands from each other and held their wrist. Their face twisted in pain as they focused to release the orbs from their bodies. Once they did, they held the orbs tightly.
"Ready when ya are," Sapphire said and Ruby smiled.
"Ancient Pokemon Groudon and Kyogre!" Ruby and Sapphire yelled, raising the hands that were holding the orbs. "Cease your senseless fighting and return to the land of peace!"
Nothing happened after that, however. Ruby gritted his teeth. The orbs should be working since they trained how to use it. What did they do wrong?
"Maybe we should catch their attention again like we did before," Sapphire suggested.
"Good idea," he replied, grabbing her hand. "You ready?"
Sapphire grinned, holding his hand tighter. "Yeah!"
Ruby smiled and nodded. They both jumped off the Tropius and landed on the ground. They didn't waste a moment and released their Pokemon, a Swampert named Mumu and a Blaziken named Chic.
"Chic, use Flamethrower!"
"Mumu, use Hydro Pump!"
The Blaziken and the Swampert let out a roar and obeyed their respective trainers' commands. Both opened their mouth and released their attacks—scorching hot flames from the Blaziken and a powerful blast of pressurized water from the Swampert. It managed to hit both Ancient Pokemon but there wasn't any response; both behemoths continued clashing with one another, making Ruby wonder why their attacks didn't work.
"Ruby," Sapphire called, making him snap out of his trance. "There's a barrier protectin' 'em. If we could hit their blindspot then maybe we could get their attention."
Ruby nodded. That could work, but where were their blind spots?
"I see it!" Sapphire exclaimed, pointing towards the Pokemon. "It's on their torso. Let's do it!"
"Ready when you are," Ruby stated, holding her hand even tighter.
"Use Flamethrower again!"
"Another Hydro Pump!"
"Aim for the torso!" Ruby and Sapphire continued.
Two of the Hoenn starter Pokemon didn't hesitate and released their attacks towards the ancient Pokemon. It hit their desired target, causing both Pokemon to stop moving.
"Gotcha!" Sapphire screamed. "Let's do it again!"
Sapphire and Ruby focused all of their energy on the orbs in their hands, but the power was overflowing, causing their body to heat up excessively. Ruby looked at Sapphire and saw steam coming out from her arm. He gripped her free hand, telling her that she could do this. They screamed in pain and the orbs bounced off their hands. Their arms were heating up as steam continued to emerge from it.
The Charmer gulped. He could feel his body was getting weaker but there wasn't any time for it. They needed to stop Groudon and Kyogre first.
Groudon and Kyogre turned around. Ruby was relieved that they caught the giants' attention, but the moment both Pokemon opened their mouths, he knew they didn't do it correctly.
Sapphire removed her hand from his and went in front of him. She pushed him out of the way as Groudon's and Kyogre's attacks hit her back. Her eyes widened with her pupils slowly dilating and fell on the ground.
Ruby couldn't believe what he just witnessed.
"SAPPHIRE!" he yelled but there was no response coming from her. "SAPPHIRE!" he shouted even louder and crawled closer to her body. He grabbed her and placed her body on his lap. His arms held her back as he tried to shake her awake.
But nothing happened.
"Sapphire! Sapphire! Please! Please, say something!" He shook her once again but she wasn't budging. He placed his ears close to her chest, hoping to find a heartbeat. His eyes widened, as he tried to swallow the enormous lump in his throat.
He couldn't hear a single beat.
No. No. No. No. No. No. No! This isn't happening! This is just a dream! This isn't real! His mind couldn't accept this at all.
He wished he could just wake up right now and see her sitting on a tree.
Meanwhile, Groudon let out a cry and fired another attack at Ruby. The Swampert and the Blaziken deflected it, making the attack hit a nearby wall. Chunks of cement fell a few inches away from Ruby and he knew that this wasn't a figment of his imagination.
This was all real and this was currently happening.
He gritted his teeth. Tears started forming in his eyes, as it plummeted like a waterfall.
He couldn't feel anything. He only felt pain and it was making him numb. He couldn't hear anything. He couldn't feel the ground shake around him. He couldn't see anything. Everything was blurry. Nothing was clear.
The battle continued raging around him but he was too hurt, too depressed to move.
"Sapphire..." he muttered, hoping she could hear his voice but she remained motionless. Her heart wasn't beating. He couldn't feel her chest rising and falling from breathing.
She was gone. She was...gone. And she protected him from doing so.
A Poke Ball popped open, releasing the Pokemon inside; it was Celebi.
Celebi heard its trainer's cries.
It gave the Charmer a curious look, as Ruby kept crying. In his arms was her dead body, as it turned cold and lost warmth.
"Please..." he sobbed. "Please... Bring her back... I beg of you...please... I...I don't know what I'll do without her..."
Boy, rewriting the whole confession scene with words was quite difficult but a lot of fun! :0
The confession dialogues were from the Viz translations since that's the only books I own.
This isn't the first time I killed Sapphire in a fic, don't worry! People said I couldn't write angst/tragedy then here you go. [One thing I REFUSE to write are love triangles/polygons and cheating in a relationship. Get those...things away from me.]
I can't believe franticshipping week is almost over. Tomorrow's prompt is "free day" so it can be anything and I cooked up something I've been procrastinating to write. I hope you're all as excited as I am with it. :D
There will also be a collab art based on this fic and I'll post it soon on twitter! ovo