Chapter Final: Candlelight Course
Green stepped out of the Department Store, the glass doors sliding together behind him. Suddenly, he heard a strange croaking sound immediately to his right.
“I’m hungry, Green,” said Red, who was clinging to Green’s right arm and using the side of his shoulder as a headrest.
Green reached into his left pocket and drew out a hard candy. He untwisted the plastic wrapper and revealed the candy inside. “Have this.” He reached over and stuck the candy in a surprised Red’s open mouth.
“Thith ithn’t egthactly what I had in mind.”
“It’ll be enough for now.”
“What about dinner?” The grape flavors flooding Red’s mouth only made him hungrier for actual food.
Green stopped short, causing Red to almost walk off with his arm. He gazed into the sky. Already, the blue was being conquered by orange and red, a spectacular backdrop for the flocks of Pidgey and Pidgeotto soaring overhead. It’s later than I thought, thought the Eevee Trainer. He sighed. “I guess I am getting a little hungry myself. Let’s stop by the Celadon Restaurant.”
He braced himself for Red to suddenly make a dash for the restaurant with him in tow, but Red was too famished. So the two of them walked to the restaurant, Green leading them on.
“You are aware that this is not a life-altering decision, right?” teased Green. The two Pokémon Trainers were seated, facing each other, at a small table in the corner of the Celadon Restaurant, the local eatery. The lights in the establishment were low, and each table was adorned with a burning candle. (One table's candle flame blazed an eerie purple, although nobody seemed to notice.)
“Well, I am having trouble focusing on the menu. This is all too embarrassing!” Red complained.
“What, two boys sitting together to share a meal by candlelight?” his brown-haired Rival said, smirking. Red held his menu up higher to hide the blush that was emerging in a big way on his face. This only caused Green to chuckle. “You are such an uke.”
“Don’t say things like that!” was Red’s muffled response, his face now smothered by his menu. “We’re in public!”
“Nobody is watching us, you dork. Which is a good sign that they aren't listening to us, either.”
“Well, aren't you a cute couple?” came a voice from behind Green. He whipped around in his chair to see a young woman who was wearing a Vileplume cap and holding a pen to a pad of paper smiling down at him. He did not know exactly how to respond to this other than to turn back around to see how his uke was taking this unexpected encounter.
Red had dropped the menu onto the table and was resting his forehead on the appetizers page with his eyes squeezed shut and his hands shoved up against his ears.
“Eh, heh heh, yeah,” Green managed. The waitress looked over at Red, her eyebrows disclosing concern. “Oh, uh…he’ll be alright. He's pretty shy around people unless there is a Pokémon Battle involved.”
“I see.” Green thought he heard her punctuate her answer with a whispered, “So adorable!”, but he could not have been sure. “So what will you boys be having this evening?”
“We’ll be splitting a portion of filet Miltank.”
“Oo, fancy!” (“What a romantic seme!” the waitress might have whispered.) “Anything to drink?”
“One Soda Pop for me, and…” The Eevee Trainer thought for a moment: how could he tease his boyfriend even more? “…one Berry Juice-box for him.” Red did not respond; he was still in his own dark, silent, safe world.
“Okey dokey! I will have your drinks out to you before you can say, ‘Erika!’” With that, she walked off. As she did, Green could have sworn he heard her whisper, “I really need a boyfriend.”
Ten minutes later, Red and Green were slurping up Berry Juice and Soda Pop, respectively, eagerly awaiting their entrée’s arrival. The former had spent another five minutes or so following the waitress’s initial departure “using Withdraw,” as Green had put it, before “coming out of his Squirtle shell.”
“This is good Berry Juice,” said Red, “especially considering the rarity of Shuckle in Kanto.”
“And this Soda Pop tastes like any other Soda Pop. Go figure.”
Red gazed at Green, searching the taller boy’s face for clues to the reason behind his sudden shift in attitude. Green caught his stare. “I’m just hungry, okay?”
“You’re acting like you used to,” Red pointed out. “Before we started dating. Back when we were true Rivals.”
“I’m just teasing you is all.”
“But it's not funny. I don't think you understand: I hated you back then. You were a spoiled, self-obsessed jerk! Now, you’re at least more gentlemanly. I am through competing with you in everything! In the Game Corner, I wanted to feel like we were a true team, but I know you were still turning it into a competition by trying—unsuccessfully, I might remind you—to get more Coins than me!
“Just stop becoming that jerk again!” With tears snaking their way down his cheeks, Red reached across the table and took an awe-struck Green’s hands in his own. “I want the new Green to stay. I want my Green.”
“Red…I…” Green had never seen Red like this before; the Pikachu Trainer was not known for being a boy of many words. “Um…”
Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the waitress chose that moment to approach the Trainers’ table with their main course. The sight of the two boys holding hands, one sobbing with his chin to his chest, was too much for her this time. She let out a loud, high-pitched squeal. The whole restaurant turned to look at her. And then at the trigger of her fangirl-splosion: Green and Red.
“Sorry, folks,” boomed the manager, Cecily, a stout woman with graying hair who was walking out from behind the counter on the other side of the restaurant. “Violet,” she scolded in a hushed voice, “if you can't control yourself around the customers, I am going to have to cut off your Internet access within this establishment permanently.”
Violet looked (and sounded) mortified. “Y-yes, ma’am.” Then she placed the almost-steaming platter of filet Miltank on the boys’ table, giving them an apologetic smile before dashing off into the kitchen.
The waitress’s outburst had given Green enough time to organize his response. This is what he said: “Red, you know I really care about you. A lot. And right now, I don't think I have ever been so proud of you.” Red finally lifted up his head and looked deep into Green’s brown eyes. “I’ve never seen you really stand up for yourself like that, at least outside of Battle. You’ve got me really thinking about the way I've been treating you. Now, I don't know whether my constant teasing today or your brave speech a few minutes ago is from hunger, but I do know that what you said came from the heart, and as cheesy as this is getting, your words reached my heart just now.
“I promise I’ll be the Green you want. Always.”
“Really?” A smile had been surfacing on Red’s face.
“Really.” The smile now broke through, and joy splashed everywhere, washing away Red’s tears and putting a warm grin on Green’s face. “Now let’s eat.”
Green did the honor of cutting the steak. To Red’s welcome surprise, the taller Trainer then speared a small slice of the meat with his fork and shoved it into the smaller boy’s mouth. As Red chewed, a look of pure ecstasy began to shine brightly on his face. When he was done, he mimicked Green and reciprocated the action, delivering a juicy treat directly to Green’s mouth.
The two boys smiled, and they spent the rest of the meal taking turns feeding each other. All the while, the soft candle glow illuminated the emotions in their eyes, revealed the bond that they shared so strongly.
“Thanks for such a wonderful day,” said Red. The two Trainers were walking down the lamp-lit street, holding hands and enjoying the full, satisfied sensation that resulted from their meal. In his free arm, Red cradled the Pikachu Doll that Green had bought for him earlier that day.
“You don't have to thank me. This was your idea!”
“Heh, I guess you’re right.”
“Ready to head back home to Pallet Town?”
Red failed miserably to stifle a yawn. “Yeah.”
Green and Red sent out their Pidgeots, climbed atop them, and Flew high above the Celadon skyline, headed southwest towards small, peaceful Pallet Town. And all the while, until they reached home and parted ways, they held each other’s hand tightly as if they were one person who could do anything.
And just for one day, a day in Celadon City, they were on top of the world. Together.