I have kinda written something similar to this, but I don't care. There's just so many ways for Ruby to tell Sapphire the truth about Mirage Island. While they act like he already did observing their interactions in the ORAS arc, I just feel like writing one again for self-indulgence and I don't care if it's similar to one-shot 48 / chapter 48. :'))
Summary: One may call him a lunatic or an exaggerated idiot, but he'd rather tell the truth now before inevitable the end of the world.
Rating: For all ages. G. K. Whatever it's called as per fanfiction website.
WARNING: THIS IS NOT BETA-READ!
67. Enlightening the Truth
Soft and fluffy clouds trailed through the skies, as the warm sunlight radiated from above. The cool breeze followed, perfectly complimenting the already flawless weather. A breath was taken in, later releasing it seconds after. A small smile followed it, as a pair of red-coloured eyes stared at the serene horizon.
It seemed only yesterday when Ruby joined Sapphire in this little journey they had together. New Pokemon were sprouting all over the Hoenn Region in certain areas called 'Mirage Spots', and being a daughter of a Pokemon Researcher, Sapphire took this opportunity to help her father in hopes to lessen his workload.
He tagged along since he was in an incredibly good mood when she mentioned such adventure. At first, he regretted it—kind of.
He was forced to sleep outside with no tents, just his sleeping bag, but in the end, he loved every experience about it. He always enjoyed Sapphire's company, especially when he got to know her better during their training in Mirage Island, and spending more time with her was beyond what he could ask for.
He thought it'd all be over once their bet ended, but thankfully, it wasn't; it was just the tip of the iceberg and he wouldn't have it any other way.
He couldn't articulate it properly, but every moment he had with Sapphire was something he'd cherish forever. It sounded sappy—maybe cheesy, too—but...it was the truth.
After all, she did inspire him. His passion for Pokemon Contests intensified to the point where he proposed a new idea for the Contest Community.
His idea was simple—it would work like a regular Pokemon Contest but the contestant would wear a glamorous outfit to match the contest's theme. If it was a Cute Category Contest, the contestant would wear a cute outfit and so on. If plausible, the Pokemon could wear such outfits too.
He didn't know when the 'test run' of this new event would be, but he kind of had an idea on whom he should perform it with. He broke his gaze from the sky. His eyes scanned his area, looking for a certain brunette. His eyebrows stitched together.
If she wasn't on the ground, then he guessed she must be on top of this tree. He opened his mouth to speak, but he heard a nearby rustling. His eyes widened when he saw Sapphire popping in front of him.
"Whoa!" his jaw slacked, and his body flinched, observing her. She was close—too physically close—but what worried him was the fact that she was hanging upside down on this tree branch. He opened his mouth to release a breath. Some habits would never change.
"Sapphire, careful," he uttered softly, reaching his hand out for her. "You might fall!"
She puckered her lips for a pout. "I'm fine," she reassured, but that didn't stop him from worrying. "Ya should know by now am used to this," she reassured, demonstrating it whilst swaying her body with just her legs.
His hands reached for her arms, stopping her body from moving. She puffed some air out of her mouth and puckered her lips for a pout. He couldn't help but pay attention to her reaction; it was so cute. He coughed, shaking his head.
He should...He should stay focused! Yeah, he should stay focused!
"I-I know, but..." he tried as he might, but he couldn't say anything. She frowned.
"Ya know I've been doin' this since I was a kid, right?"
"I know," he answered, truth and trust conveyed in his tone. "But you still need to be careful! What if you fall and—and hit your head?! I can't—"
The brunette removed his hands around her arms and then lifted herself up. Both her arms held the tree branch and swung herself around, before landing in front of him. She didn't look pleased, but she tried her best to not sound...annoyed whilst speaking.
She couldn't help it; why did he have to treat her as if she was a fragile little girl?! She didn't train herself for the past nine years just to be underestimated and pampered like this! "Stop bein' overprotective, Ruby!" she yelled. "I'm fine!"
His fingers rubbed his forehead and his temples. "I will if you're safe! What if you—"
"Ruby, quit it!" she interrupted, clenching her fists. Her vexed demeanour converted into a fuming one. "Stop treatin' me like I'm a frail thing! I can take care of myself!"
He lowered his head, biting his lip. His right hand rubbed his nape.
Moments after, he opened his mouth and tried his hardest to reply. Anything. Just, any word.
However, nothing came out of his mouth; he was speechless. He gritted his teeth, his eyes later widened, realizing their faces were only a few inches away from one another. He swallowed a lump on his throat, as he drew one step behind, but his back was already leaning against the tree. He opted to move to the side, but his eyes got lost in Sapphire's.
He breathed in, as sweat trickled from his right temple. She always had such beautiful eyes. He hated how he never noticed them; they were always mesmerizing to look at.
The brunette later opened her eyes. She felt how his breathing hastened and hit the tip of her nose, causing her to jump and take a step back. Her hand made its way to her chest, clasping the fabric of her clothes. She hated how she always forgot to consider their distance whilst talking.
"S-Sapphire," he tried to continue their conversation, but she hopped off, her hands reaching for a tree branch. She pulled herself up and mounted to the top, leaving Ruby behind. He felt worthless in the entire situation; he could only stare and watch her ascend with ease.
It was funny how she struggled to do so when they were children but now, she seemed to be way better at climbing trees than he was. He was proud of that, yet at the same time, he couldn't help but lower his head in shame. He rubbed the back of his head.
He was an idiot, and he still was.
He and Sapphire have become closer—more than he could ever imagine. But he couldn't help himself and keep on yearning for her.
Maybe it was him being a regular teenager, but alas, he couldn't control his desires for her; he longed to be with her, to be right beside her through the good and the bad, to hold her in his arms, and something more than just her best friend and rival.
He shook his head, fighting back those thoughts. They say ignorance was a bliss, but it was easier said than done, especially when it involved his growing feelings for her. Being in a romantic relationship with Sapphire would be amazing—the best thing he could ever hope for, but...it also had its cons.
Though he often found himself looking and longing for her, he would still find a way to trick his heart and doubt as to why they shouldn't be together.
His hand held his head, shaking it. He strolled off and went to the cliffside to get some fresher air. He was hoping he could calm his raging mind and emotions.
Sapphire saw his figure strutting away from the tree she was staying at, as her lips curved into a frown.
Their relationship was complicated at the very least, and she hated entertaining such an idea. Descending a bit, she landed on the lowest branch and rested her back on it. She stared blankly at the leaves and the sunlight peeking through them.
Neither spoke with one another for moments; both were too busy getting rid of their own thoughts.
Zuzu and Chamo perked their heads after that. They just woke up from their satisfying nap but sensing the strained aura surrounding their respective trainers was bothering them. They glanced at each other, before running after Ruby.
They sat beside the Charmer, but the latter didn't notice them. The Swampert opened his mouth to utter his cries and nudged the boy with his head. The Blaziken, on the other hand, placed her hand on Ruby's shoulder. The latter perked up, as he jerked his head to view the two Pokemon. He cracked a smile.
He honestly forgot these two were napping in a corner; he lost count of how long their nap lasted. Nevertheless, he was glad they were here. He needed someone to talk about these rampaging sensations.
He took a deep breath and patted both Pokemon's heads. The two happily obliged, as the boy continued smiling but it later fell flat. He lowered his head, resting his chin between his knees as his arms hugged his legs.
"I don't understand myself at this point," he said, as the Pokemon tilted their heads. They sat silently and watched the boy continue. "Ever since I met Sapphire again, I feel like..." he paused, chuckling. He never really told anyone about this and the more he proceeded, it felt like the weight in his chest was lessening.
"I found that missing part of myself," he explained, his eyes softening. She really was his missing piece his heart needed to become whole again. It was cheesy in retrospect, but for once, he was speaking the truth.
"Yet, I kept on pushing her and my feelings away for some reason," he clenched his fists. He knew the truth; it wasn't just 'some reason'.
"I kept on pushing the idea away—the idea of being with Sapphire—because I'm a coward," he shut his eyes. "I'm afraid to lose her again. I already lost her once and..." he pulled his legs closer to his chest, hoping to stop his body from trembling. The mere thought of it was enough to scare him. It hurt. It hurt so much...
"I can't afford to lose again..." he released a hiccup, as tears streamed down his eyes. He buried his face between his knees to hide his reaction, as Chamo and Zuzu looked at each other with a worried expression.
They knew how much Ruby and Sapphire liked each other, but they never knew the Charmer felt like this. The Fire-Fighting type had seen her trainer doubt herself and forget those confessions existed, and knowing the truth, she understood everything now.
"Is it bad—" his sobbing grew louder. "Is it bad that I'm keeping it from her? I only wanted her to be safe, but the cost is lying to her about what I truly felt."
The two frowned and placed a comforting hand on the boy's shoulder. They didn't know what to say, but they knew he shouldn't bear this burden. Telling Sapphire the truth was the best option and they hoped he could understand it through this gesture.
He lifted his head, grabbing a handkerchief from his pocket. His smile was bittersweet; he'd never shed happy and sad tears at the same time. It was an odd mix but somehow, it was quite solacing. He breathed. "I know," he spoke. "I know I'm stupid. It hurts keeping this from her, and...I know I'm hurting her..."
His shoulders slumped, as his body dropped and laid down on the ground. For the first time, he couldn't care less about the dirt lingering in his clothes; he was too frustrated to pay attention to it. He opened his mouth to exhale.
Maybe this was bothering him because Sapphire stopped asking if he remembered. He couldn't recall how and when, but recently, she hasn't brought it up. She'd often find opportunities to do so, and he feared she may have forgotten it.
Though, he digressed. He knew she was too focused on this data gathering journey to the point where she delayed her plans to challenge the Pokemon League.
He smiled. His mind toyed him with an image of Sapphire wearing the Champion's cloak standing in front of him. She had that beautiful smile on her face, as the wind dramatically let her hair flow and the warm sunlight emanated her aura. Despite this being an imagined scenario, she knew how to keep his mind at ease.
Another tear fell from his right eye, but he rubbed it off with his fingers. He knew he had to eventually tell her the truth. He couldn't tolerate losing her. He'd rather live with her hating him than not being able to see her again. He'd kept a number of secrets in him and maybe it was time to open up and tell her what he truly felt. He already lost his unbreakable connection with his parents, and Sapphire was all he had left in his past.
Now that he thought about it, hiding the truth from her just worsened the situation. He really was stupid, huh?
"How am I even gonna tell her that..." he gritted his teeth. "Why did I finally decide I should tell her the truth four years after?"
Chamo and Zuzu glanced at each other, as their jaws slacked. Did he finally come to his senses?
"I hate that I can't hide my feelings for her no matter how hard I try. I..." he scanned his palm, reminiscing the times he'd held her hand. A gentle breeze ran past them, as he inhaled. "I care about Sapphire more than anything, and...I have to tell her now."
He had to. Time was ticking faster than a Zangoose and whether he liked it or not, they were growing older. Keeping these would only bring him suffering—an unusual amount of burden he never anticipated to have.
If he kept these caged forever, then fate might take her away from him; he couldn't risk that. He would never risk that. "I need to tell Sapphire that I love her...before it's too late."
The Blaziken and the Swampert grinned, nodding at the boy. He finally made the right decision! They didn't know what they did, but they were glad those two could finally talk about that unspoken thing between them.
The night was quiet. Despite making his decision, Ruby couldn't find the right opportunity to come clean; he needed to make certain that she was willing to listen and maybe in a good mood too.
This was probably the reason why he couldn't sleep. No matter how many times he moved, he just couldn't bring himself to slumber. He sat up from his sleeping bag, rubbing his head.
He couldn't continue like this.
He got off his sleeping bag and raised his head, scrutinizing this humongous tree in front of him. He may not have the best eyesight, but once he could spot her brunette hair then it'd all be worth it.
He couldn't find her, however, and that alone worried him. He grabbed a nearby branch and hoisted himself. He knew she was used to sleeping on a tree, but it was nighttime and she might get cold. He had to at least make sure she was safe and warm.
He groaned, as he grabbed another branch. He tugged it twice, checking if it was strong enough to carry him, then elevated himself. He shook his head, shaking the potential filth off his head but halted when he saw her sitting instead of sleeping. His eyes widened.
She looked so focused whilst stargazing, and he couldn't control himself from staring.
"Can't sleep?" she asked, but her eyes were still glued to the sky.
He chuckled, as his legs finally made it to the tree branch surface. He rested his back on the trunk. "Yeah," he croaked.
Silence emerged between them, but he broke the ice with the same question.
"Can't sleep either?"
She shook her head. "I tried to, but..." she responded, clenching her fists. "I have a lot in my mind. Ya seem to have 'em too."
He bobbed his head, as his mouth set a hard line. He crawled beside her while she noticed it and scooted a bit to her left, giving him some space. "How'd you know?"
She shrugged. "We've known each other for a while, silly," he couldn't help his cackling; she was right. "I know ya can't sleep if somethin's botherin' ya. Or when ya have a big idea, but ya ain't obnoxiously screamin' 'bout it so..."
He scratched his cheek. His silent laughter grew louder. "Was I always that obnoxious?"
She smiled meekly and lowered her head. She could see his empty sleeping bag from here. "Maybe," she shrugged. "but...in a good way, ya know?"
He tilted his head, his features softening. His eyes and his smile were warm and passionate. "I guess screaming about contests and outfits to you wasn't such a bad thing after all."
She rolled her eyes, sticking her tongue out. "I have no idea what yer talkin' 'bout most of the time, though," she ended up giggling seconds after. "But I'm fine with it."
He laughed with her. He never noticed how cheerful and alluring her laugh was. "If it makes you feel better, I don't mind you talking about those science stuff as well."
She raised an eyebrow, looking at him. "Even Pokemon Battlin'?"
His soft and genuine expression returned. "Especially battling."
Her cheeks flushed, as she jerked her head to the left side. "T-Thank ya, Ruby."
His smile widened. "Thank you as well, Sapphire."
Their conversation ended with a comforting silence and Ruby knew he couldn't risk this opportunity. Taking a deep breath, he turned his body to face Sapphire. His smile was now cemented to his face, growing more sincere and authentic.
He hated how he took her for granted. In spite of her messy appearance, she remained endearing after all these years. He'd always liked her and he'd grown to like her again years after. It...honestly felt amazing to grow such feelings for her all over again and eventually fall in love with her.
"Say, Sapphire," he began, fumbling and faltering. The brunette hummed, telling him that she was listening despite not making eye contact with him. "I've been thinking."
She sighed. "It's okay," she mumbled, as his eyebrows furrowed. Her response was bemusing, to say the least. "Ya don't hafta force yerself if ya can't say it."
He paused, contemplating her words. She was always considerate and understanding. He knew she tried hiding it on many occasions, but he could see it—deep down, she'd always been that kind person he knew from the very beginning. The only difference was she became the best version of herself despite being a combination of her past and present selves.
Still, he knew he had to tell her this. One may call him a lunatic or an exaggerated idiot, but he'd rather come clean to her now before the end of the world. If he didn't, he would never forgive himself. "You have to know this, Sapph."
Her eyes widened, as the wind blew and tousled her hair, letting its strands flow with it. Ruby thought she looked...gorgeous, and he couldn't help but stare in awe.
He really took her natural beauty for granted and he was a dunce for doing so. True beauty comes from within—it has always been a heart filled with kindness and love—and Sapphire... Sapphire was the most beautiful person he'd ever met, both internally and externally. He didn't deserve her.
His eyes began tearing up. "I remember."
The gust became stronger, causing his hat to tumble and fall from the tree. It showed the scars that forever changed their lives and looking at it made tears well up in Sapphire's eyes.
It was dreadful gazing upon those markings; they were a memento of her weakness and her failure. If she was strong enough, she would've been able to save herself. But most importantly, she would've prevented that...monster from hurting Ruby. He wouldn't be scarred for life. He wouldn't be traumatized. He wouldn't be in pain.
Everything was my fault.
"I remember everything about mirage island—our training, our interactions, our time alone together, but most of all," he breathed in. He was supposed to lower his head in shame, but he couldn't stop gazing at her eyes. They were confused, and he hoped he was bearing the truth with both his eyes and his words.
"I'm sorry for lying," his tears streamed down, but he didn't bother to wipe them off. "I'm really stupid and selfish for hiding and lying. I thought if I hide the truth from you, I'll be able to protect you, I can prevent myself from losing you, but..." he clenched his fists and his teeth. "I know I managed to hurt you in ways I couldn't imagine myself doing on purpose."
He sobbed, his hands rubbed off his tears but they continued plummeting. "I'm selfish. I thought I was protecting you, but I was actually protecting myself and my own happiness if I ever lose you. I...I didn't even consider what you feel! I..." he grumbled, wailing even louder.
Despite the aching sensation, his chest was slowly feeling lighter. Was this what it felt like telling the truth?
"I know it's too late to say I remember and I'm sorry. I'm sorry for lying. I'm sorry for hurting you. I'm sorry for hurting you. I never ever want to lose you again! I just can't! I can't!" he moved closer but hesitated. He swallowed the lump in his throat. Should he tell her that he loves her? He could tell through her perplexed demeanour how all this information was too much to endure. He sighed.
"Is it too late to redo our confession all over again, but change it a bit?"
She was silent for a moment. Even if his anxiety and anticipation were killing him, he knew he had to be patient and let everything sink into her.
"I know," she murmured several moments later.
His eyes widened. She...She did? He must've miscalculated their closeness; he knew how much they knew one another.
"I know ya've been hidin' it from me, Ruby."
His jaw slacked. She really was something.
"I stopped bringin' it up 'cause," she gripped her shirt. "I dunno," she admitted, her own tears flowing down. "I admit I'm hurt, but if I can try to move on from my...from my..." she choked, biting her lip. "If I can try to move on...If I can try movin' on from my mum and then...I could do the same."
He frowned. She'd told him about her mother passing away and how much she struggled to handle her own heartache. He felt dumber than before.
She already lost so much, and he never meant to hurt her through lying. He opened his mouth to breathe, as he moved closer to hold her hand. He intertwined their fingers together, as she perked up. Her eyes finally met his. They were aching yet at the same time, they were soft and serene. "I'm so sorry, Sapphire."
She was silent whilst controlling her tears, but his left hand cupped her cheek.
"I never meant to hurt you. I'm sorry," his thumb stroked her cheek, as she sniffled, her tears flowed freely. "I'll be accountable for my actions and..." his smile was bittersweet but his eyes were full of hope and positivity. "that includes confessing what I truly feel about you."
She blinked, hoping to get rid of her teardrops.
"I kept on pushing away these feelings and no matter how many times I shove it, it just kept on coming back but stronger than ever," he smiled. "I love you, Sapphire. I love you," he raised their linked hands and kissed her own. "I love you so much."
Sapphire didn't know what to feel. Was this all real? Was this a dream?
"I want to protect you. I want to hold you in my arms and keep you safe. I wanna be by your side no matter what circumstances—good, bad, it doesn't matter! I wanna be with you, Sapphire! I can't help myself, but I'm finally ready to embrace these feelings."
Words fumbled and jumbled in her head. As she opened her mouth, she couldn't utter a word. Her tears continued coming, as she proceeded to sob. "It...It only took ya four years to say that, d-dummy!"
He giggled. "I know," he tucked a loose hair behind her ear. "I'm sorry for hiding it from you. I now know my feelings for you just kept on growing stronger no matter how many times I ignored and buried them."
She nodded. "I know we're too young to start a relationship back then, but," she chewed her lower lip between her teeth. "I just hoped we could be together even as friends, ya know?"
He moved closer, shut his eyes, and smooched her forehead, pouring all of his feelings for her. Her face heated up at that. It felt...amazing.
"We are but now," he squeezed their linked hands, locking them like the way they were supposed to be. "I'm ready to be with you and I'm willing to wait for you," he chuckled. "You were able to wait for four years and I can wait that long—heck, even longer!"
She giggled and his smile kept on widening. His features softened once again and it grew more passionate as the seconds ticked. She was his treasure, and he'd never let her go. Not again. Never again.
"I...I love ya too, Ruby," she confessed but later hid her face. She covered it with her right palm, but he stopped her and held her chin with his right hand. She could perfectly see his love and compassion in his eyes. His eyes always had a unique colour.
"I love you," he confessed once more, as he tilted his head and leaned closer. He captured her lips for a kiss, surprising her but she ended up wrapping her arm around him. He let go of their held hands to pull her closer, deepening it.
Their first kiss wasn't something they expected. It was supposed to be fierce and explosive—just like in the movies, but it was messy and a tad awkward. They could only feel each other's soft lips and the passion they were pouring onto each other. And they wouldn't have it any other way.
They couldn't tell whether or not time stopped, but they knew they had to let go to breathe. They slowly pulled apart, as Ruby leaned his forehead on hers. He linked their hands once again and smiled.
"I'm also thinking we should do the contest spectacular test run together," he chuckled. "It's a good way to show Hoenn that I'm finally with the person I love. Plus," his eyes became even softer. "I already have an outfit planned and ready for you. You'll look more beautiful in it."
She hummed, as her cheeks reddened. What did he mean by 'more beautiful'? "Promise?"
He pecked her forehead, as he squeezed their interlocked hands. "Promise. And this time, I won't pretend I've forgotten."
"No YoU mIsCalCuLaTeD, yOu ShOuLd HaVe FeArEd Me MoRe!" - Azula [Avatar: The Last Airbender, 2005]
Regarding the anonymous comment about 135, I honestly didn't know that happened. I remembered she gave me some fun little prompts for franticshipping and I feel like rewriting them. I don't know 135 that well, but I'm still shocked that happened and my condolences to her friends and family. Thank you for informing this. I never knew.