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Destiny Village ~ Hot Cocoa Therapy Offices

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Dragonfree

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Dave crumpled to the floor. The Blacklight still pulsed through him, threatening to burst, and he couldn't find the motivation to get up again.

Words echoed back at him, a series of pathetic deflections of the obvious, and all he could feel was deep loathing and disgust.

Shadow said:

For a moment he stopped breathing, feeling sick.

His body was shivering and heavy and thrumming with light at the same time, his heart pounding deafeningly in his ears, all other sound distorted. There was a strange cold clarity in his mind.

He felt like shit. He always felt like shit, and he was sick of it. Why did he keep expending so much energy fucking arguing with Shadow when he said plain obvious things. Why'd he been evading talking with Mia this whole time for no reason. Why'd he have to constantly keep insisting he was fine when he obviously wasn't. Why was he such a fucking garbage fire of a human being. Why the fuck would he, after getting two kids killed, ever presume to be an improvement on anyone's parents. Why was he even fucking alive.

Astrid kept blowing herself up with Radiance, wiping out their opponents in one fell swoop. He wanted to do that, do that and just be done with this fucking fight and wake up in the hospital if there was anything left of it, or in the Voidlands, or not at all. He began to call on the already-buzzing Radiance tugging on his brain--

--and then an abrupt nudge on his chin broke his concentration. It was Shadow, solid again, bumping his head up against him, his glowing eyes sad and resigned, not saying anything. Leaning against him, shivering.

He thought of Jean, cold after waiting too long for him to pick her up, and trying, desperately trying to keep her warm while she sniffled on the sofa.

He shuddered, closed his eyes and took a deep breath, dragged himself away from the mental precipice.

Slowly, slowly, steady breaths dissolved the coldness, quieted the buzz, let him feel normal again.

Shadow was still there beside him, a shivering mess, and with a shuddering heave, Dave dragged himself toward him, put a paw over his back and pushed his head into his neck. Shadow was cold and wispy to the touch, but leaned into him, and as Dave breathed slowly through his nose, eyes closed, the other Mightyena's shivering calmed.

What the fuck did this even look like to Fugu? He couldn't bring himself to care at this point.

Dave Focused!
 

Dragonfree

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Slowly, the Blacklight receded from his brain, and Shadow stopped shivering altogether before melting away into the air beneath his paws. Dave was alone with Fugu, again.

This entire thing'd been fucking dumb. He stood, eyes still closed, breathing through his nose, for a moment, wondering if she was going to start dispensing some deep wisdom, mentally daring her to.

"That it?" he asked finally, jaw clenched.
 

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Fugu shook her head. "It's the beginning."

She pressed a button on the ground nearby, which pulled the desk back to its usual spot.

"That was very hard for you. But you still did it, and now you are able to peel away at what you are trying to hide from everyone." Her voice was even and calm, but filled with at least a shadow of understanding of what Dave was speaking from in the heat of the moment. "Now, we can talk."
 

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Dave had no interest in talking. He wanted to just get out of here, but that wasn't going to accomplish fucking anything at this point.

He sat and faced Fugu. "Fine. Talk."

<><><><><>​
 
EPILOGUE - A Second Appointment New

Dragonfree

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Dave stepped into the therapy offices for the third time, raising a paw briefly to the receptionist. "Here for Fugu."

He'd made that second appointment, in the end. Brisa would've never let him hear the end of it if he hadn't. Who knew if it'd accomplish anything, but at least Fugu'd get her money. Even so, there was a strange tension in him that wouldn't go away.
 

Namohysip

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"Oh, of course!"

And this time, it wasn't very long at all until Fugu brought Dave into her office without a word until the door closed. Then, she nodded, a respectful smile at first, almost one with a hint of familiarity. It was odd on Fugu; there was more to it. Perhaps a thanks for saving the world?

But then it went back to neutrality. "Good to see you back," Fugu replied. "Considering your circumstances... I'm willing to follow your lead, if you came with something in mind." She knew he wasn't long for the world.
 

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"Well, uh, thanks for before. It helped."

He thought fleetingly again of just going in for an attack and getting to the fight part, but without the hormonal rush of a threat or challenge, the idea just felt dumb and vaguely uncomfortable. He sensed Shadow congealing into existence somewhere behind him, hovering at the side somewhere, but kept his gaze on Fugu.

"Honestly I don't even fucking know. Even if we had a great big talk and uncovered the true meaning of life, I'm going back to my shithole universe in a couple of days with no memory of it. What's even the..."

He stopped. Shadow was there in his peripheral vision, looking at him, and he doggedly ignored him. "You know, it's pretty shit that just when we're not dealing with any world-ending threats anymore and can finally just fucking relax, we get like a week to enjoy it and then we're sent back home. To, you know, whatever the fuck we had going on there."
 

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"I mean, sure. People are hoping we'll retain something we learned here on a subconscious level, or whatever. Which is all well and good, but not exactly helpful when the problem is less the forgetting and more just what you're going back to to begin with."

Off to the side, Shadow looked slowly over at Fugu. Still silent.

"Like, I get that Diyem can't keep us here, I know why it's happening, but that doesn't mean it's not shit. Hell, I wouldn't stay here forever even if I could. I've got a daughter to go back to. It's just..."

"I've been happier here," Shadow said softly.

"You know, my daughter'd fucking love Cibus. Instead she lives in a universe where a law was passed against her leaving the house."
 

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Fugu nodded. "This is a cliche statement," she said, "but let's talk about how that makes you feel. I don't think a battle is necessary for something like that. It sounds like you have a lot to say."

So she could do this without a battle... when necessary. Perhaps she only used it when her clients couldn't get the words to form; battles, it seemed, helped a Pokemon express themselves in a way their speaking, stationary counterparts did not.

"When you think about Cibus and then your world, what comes to mind?"
 

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Oh, Lord, she was going to try to make him talk about feelings anyway. Dave sighed, sitting down on his haunches. "Cibus is the kind of universe my universe's cartoons take place in. Friendly authority figures all the way up, everyone gets along, tangible forces of hope and goodness and love. Just an idealized version of everything. Universe-ending threats pop up, but then the good guys win and everything's fine."
 

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"That it is," Fugu said. "Eras of peace like this are almost unheard of when I was younger. Back then, conflict was abound, outlaws so prominent that it was not a matter of when they would be caught, but if there were enough resources to apprehend them, even if they were completely brazen. To go from a world of strife to a world of peace is... jarring for older generations."
 

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Was she calling him old? He couldn't even really protest, now that he was somehow in his fucking forties. God.

"What, so Cibus was some kind of lawless hell within living memory? What happened?"
 

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"Shortly before the first human of the current era arrived--you know her as Bone, of the Air Continent--Dungeons began to appear, along with the early stirrings of Dark Matter's return. The dimensions twisted the environments and the minds of the Pokemon inside, making them agitated and aggressive toward intruders. Even now, we don't know if that effect was a nature of their homes being destroyed, or an inherent property of the Dungeons themselves.

"Resources became scarcer and trade and travel routes were abruptly disrupted or destroyed entirely. In extreme cases, whole villages were lost to abrupt surges of distortive power, some wiped clean without anything but ruined homes to show that they'd existed. All of Cibus was blown back several centuries of development over the course of only a short decade. Even some of the Legends were lost to the distortion, awakening from their long slumbers in fits of anger uncharacteristic of their true selves as Dungeons formed around their homes.

"In other words, the world as we knew it had ended a few decades before I was born. I only know of that prosperous era from the stories that survived that slow apocalypse. To go from a world like that into a world of peace can make many people feel... uncertain, even envious and bitter, perhaps even looking at the future when it may happen again."

Fugu closed her eyes. "Sorry for the history lesson. To someone born in this idyllic era, it can seem almost outlandish, what it used to be."
 

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Dave blinked. "Huh." It was hard to picture a world like Cibus just regressing into a postapocalyptic wasteland. How long ago was all this again? He knew better than to ask Fugu her age. "And then, what, the Omen Heroes just fixed everything?"
 

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"No," Fugu said, though she smiled. "But giving them some credit for getting things going in the right direction again... That, I think is true. When the world seems aimless and Pokemon are in disarray from their very homes being upended, it seems that a human leader can be what brings us back from the brink. I think that is something that Buffet recognizes. It may not be that humans are special, but perhaps they are different enough that they are not affected by distortion in the same way."
 

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Dave raised an eyebrow. "Well, my world is full of humans and it's sure not a paradise, so definitely leaning away from there being something special about us." So instead, what, everyone was just so fucked up by distortions that an average-ass human who's not affected could just pull them away from the brink? Or did Buffet just know how to pick them?

"At any rate, you seem to have gotten everything back to idyllic status real quick. Doubt that'd work over in my world, where it's not supernatural distortions poisoning everything. Just human nature and the systems we've built."
 

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"I mean, no, not really." Dave exhaled, looking away, and then realized that had been completely ambiguous and he'd have to clarify what he'd meant.

I came to pay you back for the fucking fight. That's all.

A breath. "As in, the state of the world, no, plenty of people sure seem to manage to have perfectly happy lives back there anyway, don't they."

His eyes met Shadow's, and stayed there. The other Mightyena's ears perked warily.
 
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