Chapter 35: Tears for a Teammate
We made our way out of the exit of Temporal Tower and began the long walk down the rock path to the Rainbow Stoneship. But with each and every step, I found myself more hard-pressed to continue. It felt like I had the weight of the world pressing down on me. Meowth looked back at me and said, "Sumpin' da matter, Rio?"
I shook my head and said, "Let's just keep going." I said this, but my body wouldn't cooperate too well. We both yelped as another tremor shook the path. After it stopped, Meowth let out a sigh of relief, "Guess Temporal Tower is still getting back to normal. Let's move along." We started moving but I noticed a small orb of light come from my body.
I let out a gasp and stopped and Meowth stopped with me. Small orbs of light started floating up from my body. I looked at myself and saw that they were coming from the soles of my feet.
"'S happening. Ain't it?"
I looked up and Meowth continued facing forward, "Now dat da future is changed, you won't be around anymore."
I gasped, "H-how, how long have you known…?"
He chuckled humorlessly and said, "I told ya, Dusknoir sang like a canary. Really, there were times I wished I coulda told 'im ta shut up."
"M-Meowth, I'm sor-"
He shook his head, still not facing me, "Don't be sorry. It had ta be done. You kept this to yourself cuz you didn't want me ta be sad. I kept this ta myself, cuz I didn't want to put any more pressure on ya."
He started shaking, "I tried so hard, Rio. After I found out that you'd disappear, I searched for another way, any way where the planet would be unparalyzed and you an' Grovyle'd still be around. I asked around about the Time Gears in the future, but you know how dat went… There was no other way. It had ta be here and now."
He turned around, his eyes shining with held back tears. "I almost wanted ta leave da world hangin' to save you. But… Rio, I know dat you don't remember livin' there, but it was a total hell-hole. I couldn't just let the world go to dat. All this 'being good' stuff I done for da past month wouldn't let me. I could see, ya know, while we were fighting. You were determined ta save da world, no matter what. I had ta help, ta be there for you."
More light started coming off of my body, but I said, "Meowth… Thank you for everything. I'll never forget you."
He scowled at the ground, "But what was it worth?! It's not fair! We've been through everything together. What is it worth saving the world if we don't both live to tell the tale?! How am I supposed ta go on by myself?"
I struggled and reached my arm forward and put it on his shoulder, "Meowth." He looked up and I said, "I know that you're strong enough on your own. You have to live! You have to go home and tell everyone what happened here. So that… nothing like this ever happens again."
He sniffled and nodded, trying hard to smile, "Y-you got it…"
Even now, he's thinking of me… He doesn't want my last sight to be him crying…
The light got brighter, and most of my body started disappearing. I heard the Treasure Bag fall to the ground with a thud, having phased through my shoulder. I returned Meowth's smile with one of my own, "Thank you for everything, Meowth. I'm glad that we got to train together at the guild… I'm glad that we got to go on adventures together… I'm glad… I got to know you, Meowth."
"I'm so lucky that you were my friend…"
He reached up and held onto my arm, "I was the lucky one, Rio… You're… more important than anything!"
"Yes… I feel the same way. Meowth… Even after I disappear from here… I will never forget you…" The light shined even brighter and I saw my arm start disappearing in front of me, dissolving into light. The last thing I heard was my scarf and badge falling to the ground with a click.
Gone. He's gone…
The light faded and all that was left was the Treasure Bag and Rio's Badge, still attached to his Pecha Scarf. I fell to my knees and picked it up, letting all of my tears out. I don't know how long I cried for Rio. I didn't even want to move. I felt like, if I left, I'd be accepting that Rio wasn't coming back. I looked at the scarf I was holding and tied it to my wrist.
It's all I have left of him… It deserves a spot where it can be seen.
I pulled myself up and shouldered the Treasure Bag. I turned around and started taking the long walk back to the Rainbow Stoneship, still crying. I had to honor Rio's last wish. I had to make it back. On the way there, I saw a small rock. It wasn't anything special, but it reminded me of the Relic Fragment. I glared at it and kicked it off the path.
Knowing that he was listening somewhere, I said, "'Destiny of da world'… Didn't mention da heartache, now did ya?"
I made my way to the Rainbow Stoneship. I tripped on the way there, but I picked myself up and got onto the Rainbow Stoneship. It rumbled and started to move. I looked back at Temporal Tower as I moved away. I wiped my tears away and tried to stop crying.
Rio… He wouldn't want me ta be crying. I gotta keep his memory alive… by carrying out his wish and by leading Team Righteous to keep helping others. Memories… Seems ta be a running thing…
I remembered the first time I arrived here, with no memories, and how I got them back. How I met Rio, who also had no memories. I thought back to all our adventures and started getting teary-eyed again. I rubbed at them, trying to clear the tears away.
I crossed the Hidden Land back to Lapras and, thankfully, he didn't ask about me being alone. We rode back in silence and he dropped me off at the beach near Treasure Town. Making my way up to the guild, I stepped on the grate and everyone rushed me after the gate opened. They all welcomed me back, and then parted for Wigglytuff, who gave his own welcome.
I told them about the adventure. How Rio, Grovyle and I reunited after the fight with Dusknoir, Grovyle's sacrifice to give us a chance to move forward, our journey up Temporal Tower, fighting Dialga, and… what happened to Rio. To finish, I said that the mission was complete and the destruction of time was stopped and that peace should return to the world.
Over the next few days, I told everyone in Treasure Town the same story. I made sure that everyone learned every detail and passed it on. Soon, there wasn't a single Pokémon in Treasure Town that hadn't heard the story. I passed it on to Pokémon visiting and outside of Treasure Town, on the way back from missions.
I did my best to pick up the recruits' spirits when they found out what happened to Rio, assuring them that we don't have to forget him, but that he'd want us to continue the good work. Doing my best to lead them by myself, we managed to carry on and continue on our missions.
-Three Months Later-
Things have really wound down now. With the world steered clear of disaster, everyone in Treasure Town returned to their usual day-to-day stuff. After reporting in from another round of missions, I walked out of the guild, passing Bidoof on the way out.
He called out to me, "Howdy, Meowth. Going out?"
"Yeah, just goin' out for a walk."
"Sounds nice, yup yup! It'll be dinnertime soon, though. You don't want to be late for that!"
I chuckled, "Got that right. Won't be too long."
I went on and walked to the beach. When I got there, I saw the Krabby blowing bubbles as their goodbye to the sun. Thinking about it, I noticed that it'd been the first time I've come here just for the fun of it for a very long time.
Guess I've been so busy, I just didn't have any time ta look at the bubbles. Sure are pretty though, the sunset and the bubbles… In fact… da last time I saw dis was when I first met Rio… Back then, when I found him out on the beach… it was just like this.
Thinking back to that time dredged up a lot of memories. That day where I had found him, our adventures as Team Righteous began. I looked down at the scarf on my wrist, the badge on top.
"How about you join me ta start an exploration team? You an' I worked good together catching Koffing an' Zubat, so how 'bout it? Please?"
"Oops! Sorry 'bout that! Ha, yours too! We musta been so focused on rescuing Azurill that we ignored our bellies! C'mon, let's go get some dinner."
"All right, I'll trust you again, Rio. Your visions have never been wrong before. I believe in you."
"We won't find out unless we beat this whatever-it-is, 'cuz I'm sure it's not a true-blue Groudon! Let's rush it wit' everythin' we got!"
"Sorry we didn't learn anythin' 'bout your past, Rio. But I'm glad ta be here! We got ta see such a sight wit' everyone; I'm just glad that we didn't miss this!"
"Right now, we will die if we get caught. Grovyle probably knows the way around dis dark future better than we do. We need all da help we can get."
"Let's do this, Rio!"
"Alright! We did it! Let's hustle!"
"Alright, Rio! Let's do this! We'll make it to Temporal Tower and fix it!"
Remembering all those times made me all teary-eyed, even though they were happy memories. But they're just memories… and there's nothing I can do about it.
I started shaking and I couldn't stop. I looked at the spot where I first met Rio and then over the sea at the sunset. Tears started falling against my will. I fell back to sit down and I heard footsteps coming up the beach.
"Meowth? You've been gone so long, I took to worrying about you… What's the matter? Why are you crying?"
I tried wiping at my eyes, "Who's crying? I got sand in my eyes…" But I couldn't stop and I knew that I was lying to myself from the beginning. I told everyone that Rio wouldn't want us to be depressed about him being gone, but I couldn't even take my own advice.
-3rd Person POV-
Unknown to Meowth, someone was watching over him at that very moment.
Back at Temporal Tower, Dialga stood upon the pinnacle, contemplating the telepathic signals he was getting.
"MEOWTH. WHEN YOU LEFT HERE… WHEN YOU BID FAREWELL TO THIS PLACE FROM THE RAINBOW STONESHIP… YOUR SORROW… I FELT ITS INTENSITY EVEN HERE. AND IF THAT IS HOW YOU FEEL EVEN NOW… AND IF RIO WERE TO SHARE THOSE FEELINGS… I WILL GRANT YOUR WISH. THE WORLD NEEDS YOU BOTH. THAT IS WHY… I WILL TRUST YOU WITH A GIFT. I LEAVE TO YOU… THE FUTURE!"
Dialga turned to face outward, over the horizon, "THIS IS MY THANKS! PLEASE ACCEPT IT!" Dialga then let out a fierce roar that cut through the air and time itself.
On the beach, Meowth was still sitting in the sand with Bidoof trying to find what was wrong. Suddenly, a bright light shone on the beach. Meowth and Bidoof turned, but shielded their eyes as they watched the light slowly dim. As a shape became clear, Meowth stood up and rubbed his eyes, unsure of what he was seeing.
The light cleared away, a few small orbs fluttering about for a minute before disappearing. Standing right there on the beach, Rio looked around for a moment, confused. His gaze turned towards the others.
His eyes widened, "Meowth…" he said disbelievingly.
Meowth was shocked still for only a moment before muttering, "R… R-Rio…" He ran over with a grin on his face, "Rio!" Rio ran forward as well, with an equally large grin. When they reached each other, Meowth put a hand on Rio's shoulder as if confirming that he was really there before bursting into tears of joy, despite the fact that he was openly crying in front of two of his close friends.
The end; for now. I'm going to be continuing the next part of the game in a sequel fic. I am doing this for the following reasons.
1. This fan fiction has been getting a little long, and I feel better about making it a tidy 45 chapters and moving on to a fresh one for the next part.
2. The summary I've given for this fic has kinda lost relevance by now and I should write a fresh one for a new part.
Before I go, I'd like to thank each and every one of my readers for sticking through this long, and all of the people who've been kind enough to review my story. Especially you, Antex! Your reviews helped keep me going. Also, I should tell you all that I've been kinda sick recently, so I want to get better before I put up the first chapter of the sequel. Plus, I kinda need to think up a title first. I hope to see you all when I put it up. Again, thank you all! Hope to hear from you in the sequel!