Author's Note: This story takes place after the main ending of Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, right after the player character gets sent back to the human world. The story world is a mixture of PMD and main series elements. Expect plenty of flashbacks from chapter to chapter and regular shifts in perspective.

Under the auburn rays of a setting sun, two small Pokemon sat on the cusp of a grassy, gently sloping hill. The first, a stocky dinosaur-like creature with a glistening coat of silver and emerald scales, relaxed on his hind legs as it stared wistfully into the gentle wind. The second, which resembled a bipedal snake dressed in thick layer of leaves, paced agitatedly back and forth.

Despite their small stature, these Pokemon were experienced, battle hardened warriors. They had made something of a career out of rescuing other Pokemon trapped in every variety of dangerous, hazard filled wilderness and natural fortress imaginable. After stopping a calamity which had nearly consumed the world over the past few months, circumstances looked like they were finally settling on a high note for the Paradise Rescue Team.

Now they had to cope with the knowledge that this evening together would be their last.

("Flora, you saw the other lights,") said the first, a male Axew named Adam. ("I'm not the only human who was brought here during the crisis. The Voice said that I was not meant to stay no matter what happened.")

("So that's how it is then?") replied Flora, his female Snivy companion. She tried to appear calm and collected but the quivering in her voice betrayed her true frustration. ("After all... after everything we went through, that thick headed Hydreigon has the nerve to dump you back in the human world whether you want to or not?")

("Don't blame the Voice, it's just trying to keep this world healthy,") Adam said. ("I was already on borrowed time, and the Voice can't keep me here much longer. If I try to stay, it could break down the barriers between this world and the Mystery Dungeons themselves. You know we couldn't handle that.") Looking up at Flora, he thought her emerald coat looked as beautiful as ever, but her tail leaves were drooping as if they were about to wilt. That was never a good sign.

Flora took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, as if trying to compose herself before speaking. ("It... you know this isn't fair,") she stammered, desperation breaking through her voice. ("You aren't just my partner, you're my best friend. I don't want to lose you like this.")

Adam felt the same way, but worried that acknowledging her sentiment would just make her feel worse. He hoped he could steer the conversation in another direction. ("Look, Flora... I heard the townies were putting on a party at Swanna's cafe. You wanna go check it out with me? I think it would cheer you up.")

The Snivy's pleading stare didn't shift in the slightest. ("No, that isn't... I'm not going to forget you,") she whispered intently, as if desperately wishing for it to be true.

Adam's heart sunk at the comment. The Voice had told him that not only would he be forced back to the human world, but everyone who knew him here would lose all of their memories of his existence. It seemed particularly cruel to Flora, who has been his main source of support since he first arrived.

"W-well, look at the bright side, Flora," he began, trying to force a smile. "After all the trouble I've caused, you won't have to deal with me anymore. I suppose that's worth-"

Adam's tactless attempt at humor was interrupted by a sharp slap to the cheek. Stunned, he turned to see one of Flora's vines retract into her body. "That isn't funny," Flora growled, tears now visibly streaming down her cheeks. "Not at a time like this."

Adam was lost for words. One look at her face told him all he needed to know- she was devastated, and no amount of cheap humor was going to change that. Feeling a sudden rush of guilt, he did the only thing he could think of that seemed sensible.

He ran up to Flora and embraced her.

For a few minutes they simply stood there and cried in each other's armrs. He could pretend to be an immovable pillar of strength all he wanted, taking on the tallest mountains and longest forests without any hesitation, but he knew that losing Flora was like ripping out a piece of his heart. She had been a better friend and companion to him than anyone he had known back in the human world, and she had never abandoned him like his parents had done.

"Adam," Flora said softly, nuzzling up against his neck. "I've thought about this for a while, but since I won't have another chance to say it, I just want you to know that-"

"Don't say it," Adam said. "You make it sound like we're never going to meet again." He hugged Flora tighter, feeling a flame of fierce determination. "I swear I will find a way to come back here. I don't care what the Voice says, I will meet you again."

Flora smiled softly at this. "And I won't forget you, no matter what happens."

"No matter what," he replied.