A death brings everyone back to Pallet down, and the people who suffer the most realize that they are not the ones who should.
I hate Christmas.
I made my way toward the small house, shivering in the cool winter breeze. My coat billowed around me, and I absently located the note I had been given in my pocket. I could almost sense that powerful presence just by touching it, and found myself fighting not to weep. How long had it been since he had given this to me? Six years, eight? I failed to remember, and I still do, even to this day. I had spent too long in the mountains.
I made it to the Ketchum residence; still quaint and well-cared for, as it always seemed to have been. Feeling awkward and feral, having been away from humanity for such a long time, I rapped lightly on the door. The call of my tears subsided; I would be okay for a moment.
I closed my eyes as I heard a rustle within. In that house were the only people who had ever seen me cry. My PokÃ©mon, and others, had seen me weep many times... Other people had been present in situations where tears had fallen down my face... But these people were the only ones who had watched me sob.
She opened the door, and I was surprised-this is not her house. She stared at me with those piercing teal eyes, the ones that haunted my nightmares and my memories. Those were the eyes that had bored into me when I had stolen that which she prized most for my own purposes... And even now I could see a measure of hate in her eyes for what I did, amid all the love and solace she felt at seeing me.
As she whimpered in a squeaky voice and threw her arms around me, I could not help but admire her beauty... She had changed so much. What had once been an awkwardly appealing girl was now a graceful and exotic woman; a fair beauty out of place in a sea of dark peoples. Her orange hair was the same length that it had been, but it hung loose now, and in the circumstances it was unkempt. Those brilliant orbs were framed with a sickly reddish-pink; the color of relentless tears. Even in grief she was beautiful.
She let out a high cry into my chest, and once again I fought to force away the burning in my eyes.
"Why are you crying, Misty? He wanted this," I chide, although I myself have cried for days. The only way they found me was through Sabrina. It killed me so much to know that I shut down inside; I lay whimpering in a cave on Mt. Silver for two days.
"It's not fair."
"Life is not fair."
She released me from her grasp and retreated into the living room. I followed. He was waiting there, and he had changed even more than she. His face was more chiseled now; strong and fierce... yet what little could be seen of his eyes was even more gentle and soft than it had been when last I had seen him. His hair, once short and spiky, now hung down to his neck in subtle waves-though I knew he wore it in a dignified ponytail when he was not grieving. He looked stoic sitting there, but I sensed that he was the one who hurt more of the two of them.
"Mewtwo. I didn't think you'd come," he droned.
"I did not think that I would live long enough to be summoned," I responded, sitting.
"So you know."
"I felt it."
"So did I," Brock answered.
"I was there." She looked away.
We sat in silence for a moment, all feeling the same grief. Pikachu had suffered most... but that would change soon. Brock was the one who would be hurt the longest, who would be scarred. Misty was strong, she would triumph; Pikachu would continue on in his soulmate's honor. But Brock was too sensitive, too broken to begin with. It would mark him forever. As it marked me.
"Pikachu told us that Ash wanted us to see you before he was buried." Brock said. I could feel his struggle to form the words... his struggle to form anything but tears. Like my own.
"You will be hurt."
"Tell us the whole story."
I sighed-physically sighed. "He came to me at Mt. Keyna."
"After you gave our memories back." Misty mimed.
"He said, 'I need your help...' He swallowed, with pain in his eyes. 'I'm the chosen one.'
"'I know,' I said.
"'I'm going to die someday doing the right thing.' He whimpered. He was so scared, so frightened... I felt as though my heart was breaking, because if I had not restored his memory of what he had done... 'And I want to... to be ready. But I can't tell them.'
"'They cannot understand,' I parroted.
"'It'll make them worry. And I don't want them to worry. But... when I die, I... I have some wishes. And I was... I was wondering if you could tell them what I want when I go...' He sniveled. 'Because you understand now, Mewtwo.' You know what I felt like. You know how scared I was. And you know what I had to do-what I have to do. You know. They never will.'
"'I will do what you ask,' I said, feeling tears well up in my own eyes.
"He gave to me a hastily written letter, which I now bear in my pocket. 'I want to be cremated,' he whined, 'and I want my ashes thrown into the sea around Shamouti.'"
"Tears rolled down my cheek. "'I shall tell them if ever you should leave this world.'
"Thank you, Mewtwo.' He said. 'You made a lot of mistakes, but you're all good inside. You're gonna make a difference someday. You just have to open up the door to your heart all the way.'"
"Shamouti..." Brock pondered. "Ash saved the world there."
"Did you open up your heart?" Misty asked me, her eyes piercing my very soul. Hidden in the folds of the question I could hear, Did you open them enough to realize how much this hurts? Or do you like it to hurt? Couldn't you have opened your heart when you killed him the first time?
"Yes." I answered, although I found myself repeating in my mind, I was ill; I was not well, I did not mean what I did.
"Thank you, Mewtwo."
"You are welcome, Brock. Ash saved me twice. It was the least that I could do."
"Are you coming to the funeral?"
"No. I will grieve him privately." I stood. "I hate to leave you, but I must go. I cannot bear this much longer...." I looked to Brock... and as my light eyes met his dark ones, I felt that he understood what I meant. He knew what she felt, what Pikachu felt, toward me. He knew it was their resentment that kept me away. And though he and I would grieve alone, we would grieve together, the outsiders who loved Ash more than his soulmates ever could have.
I stood and walked to the door, opening it and then closing it quietly behind me. The breeze ruffled my jacket, and the wind whispered to me, You opened the door; now let someone else in.
And as I shuddered, and as the tears rolled down my face, my own words came back to haunt me: If you hear my voice, know that it is my spirit, reaching across time and space to yours.